March 6th, 2008
02:09 PM ET

Should Obama go negative to win?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama's campaign up to this point has been refreshing. He seems almost too nice to be running for political office. His message has been about hope and change and a future filled with the hard work of restoring the greatest nation on earth to its rightful place as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

And it's a strategy that has propelled him to the front of the race for the Democratic nomination. But his failure to seal the deal this week in Ohio and Texas may bring change.

Hillary Clinton landed some body blows in the hours leading up to Tuesday's voting. An ad about a 3am phone call that preys on women's fears for the safety of their children. Questions about indicted real-estate developer Tony Rezko and Obama's position on NAFTA didn't help either.

Now Obama is starting to reciprocate, questioning what kind of foreign policy experience Hillary Clinton actually has and pointing out that she wasn't negotiating treaties or handling crises.

Obama has dubbed Clinton the "most secretive politician in America today." He's criticizing her for not releasing her income tax returns after saying she would do so "earlier," and calling on her to release records about her years as First Lady. She hasn't done that either, and Obama says that voters deserve to know why Clinton is hiding information.

The Clinton campaign doesn't seem too happy that Obama is starting to fight back. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson was whining that Obama is acting like Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who investigated the Clintons.

Here’s my question to you: Does Barack Obama have to go negative to win the Democratic nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Don writes:
Not yet. And only if he has to in order to avoid defeat. Barack has put Hillary in a really bad position despite her wins this week. It’s like a game of chess, he is approaching the end game where she will be checkmated. He can afford to be patient and let Hillary end this on her own terms and in her own way.

Steve writes:
Hillary's campaign doesn't get it. Many Democrats want change in Washington. That's the attraction with Obama. Hillary's team knows exactly what they are doing. The 3am phone call, Obama in the Muslim outfit...it is all desperation tactics and many Democrats don't like it. Yes, Obama needs to get a lot tougher with Hillary, but do it in such a way that is effective without going too negative.

Susan writes:
Does Barack need to go negative or down in the dirt with the Clinton slash and burn machine? No. He does need to show that he has the mettle to push back and as we trial lawyers say, put the other side to their proof. If the Clintons won't fess up their tax returns, make it an issue so hard to ignore that they will have to address it. What exactly is her history of answering the red phone when it rings in the White House? None, except for saying, “It’s for you, Bill.”

Frank writes:
Yes, Out of necessity, Obama will begin counterpunching Hillary with negative body blows. They will fight it out, down and dirty, while McCain watches unscathed from a safe distance.

Steve writes:
While we'd all like to know what's in those tax returns, the longer it takes the Clintons to make them public, the more leverage Obama has to work with them. He really doesn't need to go negative, he needs to go positively presidential and convince the American people that he is the one we want to answer the phone whenever it rings.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama
soundoff (439 Responses)
  1. brenda v. long beach calif

    Unfortunately he will have to go negative but this will not help the democratic party. I really wish they would both stop this fighting its hurting our party. Maybe they should both apply to be McCains campaign mangers because he is the only one benefiting from this.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  2. Steve Bedford,Pa.


    No, he doesn't need to go negative to win. He is winning by being different, by not appearing to be the typical politician that is hard to believe in. However, he is an evolving talent, a work in progress, compared to Hillary, the finished product. Obama has to figure out how to do battle with the Clinton machine without turning off the voters who so fervently believe in his message of hope and change. Obama has proven to be a quick study, but the Clintons will make it difficult for him to fight without seeming negative.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  3. Luke

    Hi Jack,

    I think Obama's message is refreshing, offers hope but also addresses the fact that all Americans must be able to make sacrifices if things are to change in a positive way. Go Obama!

    As for Rush Limbaughs most recent comments during his "Dream Ticket" radio show, this is all I have to say – "Put a sock in it."

    I enjoy your show and your street-wise commentary. Keep up the good work Jack.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  4. maria from Europe

    Yes... he should just do it as needed... Clinton has loads of things to come to light, he has to bring a few up... it will be a good training for the general election anyway...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  5. Mark - Asheville, NC

    If the 24/7, year long media blitz pushing him relentlessly isn't enough to help him to beat Mrs Clinton, there must be a moral in there somewhere: maybe he isn't ready for prime time!! Maybe we Dems do not want him shoved down our throats!! Maybe many of us know he is not electable in November!

    Go negative? Who cares? The media has been far more negative towards the Clintons than Obama could ever dare to be. But the Clintons can handle it; they had to do that during their administration, which if I remember correctly was a FAR BETTER eight years than we have had since!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  6. Josh, VT

    I hardly expect that any negative advertisements from the Obama campaign will be well recieved–at least, not by those voters who have remained objective enought to recognize the hype around the Illinois Senator for the media contrivance that it is. Obama has allowed himself to be dubbed the idealistic candidate, making this image a central theme of his campaign; he seems to be promising an administration that will suffocate realism, so I think that it would be hypocritical of him to start playing REAL politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  7. Sara

    YES. He should enlighten people about who the real Hillary Clinton is and I will not call it negative campaign. If she has nothing to hide, then it should not bother her to reveal her tax return documents or other secret files. But most people by now have sensed that behind that false smile, there is a mean woman who would do anything to get her will. Wake up Americans and don't let her fool you...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Louis

    Jack I think he's going to need to defend himself better and, yes, go negative toward Hillary. I would imagine his reluctance to use this strategy simply because it's not his style but if he doesn't, he risks losing Pennsylvania. I truly find if appauling that Hillary would be willing to go negative on any Democrat but this strategy has risks for her too. If she wins the nomination she won't be able to win the general election solely on her own base. Obama's Independents will flock to John McCain, African-Americans will stay home in protest, and Young voters will be lost to the political process for a generation. I have already made up my mind that if Obama isn't at the top of that ticket come November, I will write-in a "NO CONFIDENCE" vote.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Matt


    No he doesn't and shouldn't. If you look at the math as it stands now, Hillary would have to dominate him in all of the remaining states to close the gap. He should save his strength for the general election where he will face the guy who thinks he's running for president of AARP.

    Syracuse, NY

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  10. Phil

    I don't see any reason why Obama would have to go negative in order to win the Democratic nomination, he has an insurmountable lead. The real question is: does he have to go negative in order to win in November. Going negative in order to knock out Clinton earlier rather then later might be a good strategy, especially if Clinton continues to portray McCain as a better Leader then Obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  11. Mwita (Los Angeles, CA)

    No. Obama should just stay on message, but be quick as lightning to respond to Clinton's negative attacks. To quote Jack Cafferty " It's getting ugly out there," and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the American voter.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  12. Marian - Alberta Canada

    Giving back a little of what he's had to deal with so far from the Clintons can't hurt and hopefully would work in his favour and show that he won't be pushed around by her or anyone.

    It's really too bad that a person should have to resort to using dirty tactics in order to protect themself, but Hillary has set the standard that she wants to play by, so getting back some of what she has dished out would look good on her.

    She'd better be really careful though as there are lots of questionable things that should be brought out into the open about her shady dealings, so any dirt dug up on her just might end up biting her in her ample rear end....!!!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  13. Rosemary, California

    Clinton's Campaign has made this personal. Maybe he should point out some of her character flaws, since she insisted on going down that road. Just look back at the surrogrates, she has had speaking for her. All using derrogatory, and yes, some racial comments. If this is the person the Democrats want to hold up as a person on integrity, then I need to go back to my dictionary and read what that word means. As far as the women are concerend in this country, If this is the woman they want to represent them, then we have our first black eye. That is why the first women to win the Presidency will be the kind of woman, that all will know is right for the job. So, far we are still waiting for her.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  14. Cathy Lyons

    Hillary said, "As Ohio goes, so goes the Nation", following her big win there! So obviously smearing, fear mongering and hypocrisy works!
    If the Nation (or Ohio, anyway) "goes" with such negativity, than YES, Obama is going to have to go negative. Only problem is Team Clinton
    can dish it out, but cry like babies when it's thrown back at them.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  15. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    This all depends on how dedicated to Obama’s platform his supporters are. If they really believe in him and his stated ideals he should be able to keep it clean and still win, regardless of what Hillary throws at him. McCain and the rest of the Republic swiftboaters would be a different story.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  16. Tom from Boston

    Absolutely. It's time to take the gloves off. The only question is which of the many scandals Hillary has been linked to should he capitalize on. Whitewater? The David Watkins ouster for World Wide Travel (who gave the Clinton's $1mm of essentially free travel in exchange)? Hillary Clinton's Rose law firm billing records sought for two years by congressional investigators and the special prosecutor that were "magically" found in the back room of the personal residence at the White House? Vince Foster's mysterious death? Or simply her character and judgement in staying married to a proven serial adulterer?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Patches

    Barack is only pointing out the differences and facts about Hillary's campaign. He should continue his inspirational rallys and attack with response during press meetings outside of the rallys. It seems as though america was asleep during the Clinton administration and have no idea about all of the Clinton coverups and scandals. It's time for america to wake up and not stay asleep for the next 8 years.

    Patches, Ca.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  18. Lori Iowa

    He better otherise he looks like a wimp. He has to fight tough or get out of the way. Go Hillary!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Jorge from Monterey, California

    I really don’t understand why you guys in the media are talking about the importance of winning the big states in the primaries. Let’s be honest and reasonable, there is no way Sen. McCain can win Ohio against Sen. Obama. Why? Here you go; first of all he strongly supports NAFTA and all of the trade treaties similar to it. Second of all, the majority of democrats voting for Clinton already said that they would vote for Obama if he would be the nominee. Third and final, the amount of new voters that came out and voted for Obama will remain coming out and voting for Obama; this is what makes the coalition bigger for him against McCain. And that is only for Ohio, let’s talk about some other big states. Does anyone remember that McCain lost Wisconsin, and Obama won it? Does anyone remember that McCain lost Michigan? What is clear is this: Clinton is winning the states that the Democrats will win in November no matter who is the nominee. Obama is winning red states by such a big margin, that it could result in a real fight for those red states against McCain in the general election. Why then is no one talking about Obama’s appeal to the people in these, so called, red states? These are states that Clinton doesn’t even dream to win, states where the only factor of having a Clinton on the Democratic ticket would make most of the people vote for McCain. I don’t understand why the media is playing a big role in confusing the American people, is for their own personal interests? I don’t understand why no one in the media is objective enough to see that the best candidate for the Democratic Party is someone that UNITES people from red states and blue states, young and old, rich and poor, whites and blacks, latino and asian. Not someone that is just trying to divide the country and the Democratic Party itself. She is trying to win at all costs, she is trying to destroy HOPE, and trying to end the dream of a UNITED country with her divisive old politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Carla

    He doesn't need to. He is winning already without stooping to the Rovian ways of Ms. Clinton.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  21. Mary

    Oh, come now, we all know the most secretive politician in America today is GWB. Snicker.......

    With just a few months into this primary election Barack is already giving up on his professed idealism? This just goes to show you that his pie in the sky rhetoric for change, and his yes we can attitude is nothing more than showmanship. There is no way anyone can change Washington, or politics. His advisers know this, and now THEY are setting Barack's talking points the same way the Washington Barack backers like Teddy, Kerry, etc., will likely do if he is elected, which is very doubtful since he cannot win a large state.

    This is something the young voters will soon realize, especially when they see Barack stoop to the mud trough like everyone else in politics does. It is survival of the fittest, and if he cannot cope with a little mud slinging in the primaries without pitching it in return he is in no way electable based on the ideals of change, etc., which he himself has brought to the table.

    Mary from Florida

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  22. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    Jack, My answer is yes and no if that makes any sense. He should not go out and delibertly with mallace of for though go after Clinton. However, he should when she challanges his record respond appropriately to the context of what she is saying and point out simular or like failings or weak spots in her. It all boils down to what is good for the gander should also be good for the goose. They have a choice, keep it clean and above board with no slamming (saying Obama is like MR Starr) or not. When one questions the qualifications pf their opponent, the other has the right to challange the qualifications of the other. All is fair in politics and war. I guess what it boils down to is the old saying; "Never cast stones at someone when you live in a glass house" applies; it leaves you open to having your window broken.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  23. Linda from Houston, Texas

    No, Obama should not go negative on Hillary to win this election, although there is enough baggage to take him around the country and back. He needs to only highlight the contradiction she has presented in this race alone. One example, her recent phraseology about the rich and well connected get special treatment and representation, while the poor are badly represented is a mirror image for her in this campaign. She is rich and very very well connected, yet she claims she is at a disadvantaged - PLEASE, and CNN plays it up for her, reporting how her husband's ex- general friends think she is the best contender for President. One day she says the playing field should be level, then the next day she screams she wants an advantage, like counting the delegates for Florida and Michigan when she knows the playing field is only to her advantage. Her cry-baby behavior is giving women everywhere a bad name.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  24. Andrea, Omaha, NE

    No, but he has to show Clinton/McCain that he can fight back and won't stand for this pettiness. She started the negative campaigning and claimed she had all the experience. She's the one that inflated her resume and said she was fully vetted. Now she has to shut up or put up!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  25. Collin

    Obama has ever right to question these things, but more importantly Democratic voters have a right to question these things because if they are not done now Republicans certainly will. Hillary is far from "vetted". One thing we learned in the 1990's is that every year brings a new scandal and I'm sure we have a decade of new ones just waiting.

    Why won't she release her White House documents, former fundraisers.

    People make a big deal out of Rezko but Hillary has a fundraiser in jail. Has the media forgot that? Why does not one mention it?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  26. Linda, San Diego

    I hate to say it but yes he does. She's shown that she's willing to and it seems to be working so I think he is now forced into firing back. Americans always complain about negative ads but then we buy into them forcing the other candidate to do the same thing. When will we ever learn???

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  27. Tracy

    I don't think he should go negative in the way Hillary has. I admire Barack because he hasn't used the low down dirty tactics the Clintons are so fond of.

    Should Barack actively defend himself and point out why Hillary shouldn't be President? Absolutely. There are PLENTY of valid reasons that can be brought up without returning the mud slinging.

    Stay classy, Obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  28. Jerry/Louisian

    Yes, I believe that Barack should expose Hillary. I don't consider this going negative at all. If you got hit in the face wouldn't you hit back Jack?

    Barack is doing what he should have been doing all along – challenging Hillary's experience, which really isn't much.

    GO OBAMA!!!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  29. Mike L.

    No, he should not go negative. We are all SICK of that. He should take the high road, but he also needs to get more specific (in his speeches) on what he would do as president.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  30. Nicholas Shore

    What the question really should be is why Barack Obama goes negative on Hillary Clinton, and campaigns all about a new Washington, honesty, and change. When asked a question during the last debates, Obama replied, "I think we shouldn't focus on tearing each other down, but building America up". Something about Karl Rove'esque blanket mailings and Ohio and the previous statement just doesn't add up. It should be clear right now that Obama doesn't know how to play with the big boys, and feels free to dole out criticism, but when he is on the receiving end, just cries foul.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  31. Richard Sternagel

    No he doesn't have to go negative but he has to respond to Clinton's "swift boat" attack ads.He has to show he can take the "heat." Barack Obama should not allow any one to define him but himself! Go Obama!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  32. Wendy Callahan

    The Clinton team has stooped to a new low comparing Obama to Ken Starr. It is likely to bite her in the butt since it reminds all of us of all the scandals during the Clinton administration. I would think she would run as far away from that as she can.

    It is amazing to me that she can accuse, or should I say "infer," that Obama is incompetent, inexperienced and not the leader she is but whines and cries about how unfair he is when he does the same.

    Maybe she doesn't want us looking to closely at her dealings because we may find out that she is paying Karl Rove to be a senior strategist. Give us some credit Hillary...we didn't all vote for Bush we have some brains and can see what is going on.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  33. stephen pedde

    umm, doesn't hillary have until the tax deadline like the rest of us American's? just a thought.....

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  34. Noah

    No. Oamba should simply point out that Hillary, by going negative, has decided it is more important for her to win the nomination than for Democrats to win the presidency. She is leading us to eight more years of Republican control of the Whitehouse. Shameless!

    (From Stanford, California)

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  35. Peter

    Jack, the question you should be asking is could Hillary win without going negative?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  36. jamie robertson

    Unfortunately, it works and she threw the first punch so, yes, he should. Everyone knows that you don't become president by turning the other cheek.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  37. Kevin

    When you are attacked the way Obama has been over the last month by the Clinton campaign, attacking in response isn't negative, it's self defense.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  38. Rick

    I think if he soes go on the offensive Hillary will be in big trouble, she has enough skeletons in the closets to be on ghost hunter.

    Phoenix, AZ

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  39. davey

    I don't think so.
    I believe that's a huge reason why he has the support he does.
    Clinton going negative in the way she did...was whiny, immature and looked desperate.
    Although, you have to agree with what he claimed about her secrecy..

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  40. Kevin

    I didn't know you could win without going negative.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  41. Alan

    I think he might have to go negative. However, he'll have to avoid clintonesque displays of fake anger and wild distortions of the truth. If he can go negative while staying truthful then he'll have a great shot

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  42. Macy Wolfe

    He should bring out the knives and slice her into sushi. I love how she's allowed to question his ethics – but then as soon as anyone questions hers, she pouts that it's unfair or her campaign manager cries about Kenneth Starr tactics. So I guess we're not allowed to ask questions about her tax returns, her husbands fund-raising, or some of the other ethical questions about her and her campaign? The Clinton double standard is a pathetic joke and makes me sick.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  43. Ray from Va

    I don't like negative campaign but if Obama is to maintain the lead he would have to fight fire with fire and air some of Hillary's dirty laundry. Make her explain all of her actions she took during her "experience" in the white house. I also think she needs to explain the picture her and Bill took with Tony Resco....there were flags in the background which indicates that it was an official ceremony....she's claims she has taken millions of pics and don't know most of the people. I do think the Clintons knows him well.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  44. Tommy Caudill

    The question is should Obama go negative. What do you mean by negative? Should Obama tell the world that one of Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters Robert Johnson's television station named Louis Farrakhan person of the year in 2005. Yet I haven't heard her come out and reject and denounce his support. She tries to have it both ways and we're letting her get by with it. We cannot continue to let what she's done or said just simply go away.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  45. Frank

    I think Obama should realize that the Clinton's are going to do anything it takes. He should begin now and be aggressive but stay within the realm of where the Clinton's wont stay; the realm of the truth.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  46. Robert D.3

    I'd hate to see him begin to be negative at this point because I think he's helped himself by running a positive campaign. But, I also think at some point (and apparently right now is that point) he has to start calling Hillary out about her past. She's not clean by any stretch of the imagination and America knows it. So if she's going to keep throw mud at him, I think it's only fair that he eventually throw it back.

    God said turn the other cheek, but he didn't give us an endless number of them.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  47. Dennis in SoCal

    I think Barack needs to continue asking the tough questions and let America answer for themselves. It makes me sick that Hillary used fear to steer votes her way. The only thing we have to fear...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  48. Rob fro NC

    As long as the sky is blue and the grass is green, negative ads are what works in politics. We are all like robots and have been programmed over the past 200+ years to respond more effectively to negative ads. We expect it. And when someone comes along that tries to run a positive campaign we call them delusional and an empty suit. So, yes, Obama has to go negative to win.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  49. Femi

    If Obama claims he is running a different kind of politics, then he should not go negative, otherwise, his message will be misunderstood as being no different to the extent that it might hurt his nomination chances.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  50. Richard Hill

    No, Jack, Obama just needs to refresh our memory of things gone by; such as Whitewater, no release of tax returns and let us not forget the GOOD JUDGEMENT EXHIBITED in wanting to PROFIT FROM A REDO for both Michigan and Florida, at someone else's expense. Jack with actions like these, Hillary is definitely ready on DAY ONE to go back to the Senate.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  51. Goon

    the Clintons want to have their cake and eat it too. They feel they can go as dirty as they want, but if Obama does anything remotely like they do, its "Shame on you" finger waving.

    The hypocrisy is astounding, the fact that they intend to drag a decent person like Obama into the muck with them is depressing.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  52. Sallie

    Does Barack Obama have to go negative to win the Democratic nomination my answer is no. because he is already walking on eggs shell, he need to stay foucs on the issues and response hard when attacks on his value

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  53. anne-marie

    I think the media has done a great deal of harm to Hillary. I am not sure how much more hard can the media or Obama can do to Hillary. I am happy Hilalry start going negative on Obama because the media wouldn't do it. at least she stood up for herself and I am happy about that.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  54. Dave

    Absolutely, and it's about time Barack plays hardball with Hillary. She is a formidable opponent who is willing to do anything to win. Barack is above that, but he still needs to make his case with a little more force, and I know he can do it. He's on the cusp of winning the nomination, all he has to do is take the ball and run with it. Go Obama!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  55. alaska1125

    Unfortunately I think he needs to fight back harder. He didn't want to, but since the Clinton machine went all out with the dirty politics, I think it's forced his hand.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  56. JohnS

    I don't believe that he HAS to go negative. That said, I believe it is quite withing the capabilities of Obama's oratory skills to read an entire laundry list of Clintonian faux pas, while still maintaining the high moral ground.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  57. Pops

    I think all he has to do is tell the Truth about her (them) to win the election.
    Keep the truth in front of the American People

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  58. Quincy in Austin

    I "hope" and truly believe that he won't go as low or as dirty as Senator Clinton has gone.

    He should take the time to point out her weaknesses and flaws as honestly as he can. There is that need to juxtapose her against himself regarding her fallacious claims of "experience" or "readiness on day 1".

    My wife is a dentist, living with her and going frequently to her office does not qualify me to take up her position if she chooses to retire.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  59. Kathy

    No, he doesn't have to "go negative" to win. But he also shouldn't just take her hits without speaking back with truth. He should be able ot point out the numerous scandals and problems that have plagued her and would again in another Clinton Whitehouse. She has more baggage than any other candidate and they should be pointed out. To sit by and take hits, from someone with her problems, without responding would be foolish on his part.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  60. Rob - Maryland

    He doesn't have to go negative to win and that may actually hurt his image. He can and should, however, be more agressive not only in facing attacks on him but also showing the records of his opponents. This is presidential politics, not "tag" on the school playground.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  61. ting

    Well, Obama was winning until this Tuesday, he doesn't seem to be a good loser. People should see both side of a person. In real world, you can not always win. From this point, I think H Clinton is doing much better. I don't think she went negtive to him, she is just saying the truth.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  62. Vince, Los Angeles

    In a word Jack.....YES....

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  63. Annie, Atlanta GA

    If he does he may not win it. His appeal is in his positive campaign. However, he does need to defend himself, as long as he does it with the class he's shown all along.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  64. sally, southampton, new york

    Go ahead! Hillary can handle it – that's part of her eligibility!!! And Barack claims that he hasn't been negative, but the truth is she hasn't done anything he hasn't done too!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  65. Jeffrey Martin

    Is it really negative to bring up the holes in the opposition's platform, when he's not actually slamming them for it? I don't really think so, but I do think it is something that these inconsistencies should be brought up more frequently than it has in the past.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  66. Rick Caputo

    We know it is not in Barack's nature to go negative, but for the sake of bringing the country together, he needs to do whatever he needs to do to win. Otherwise, our country will continue to spiral in a downward direction with either a devisive Hillary or (god forbid) a business as usual McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  67. Anthony, Saint Paul, MN

    Negativity is a double-edged sword for Obama. If he goes negative, he can make some really good points about Clinton that will be brought to the public eye. Going negative, however, will be a bad move for Obama's campaign, which has repeatedly stated the fact that they want to do politics differently by not going negative.

    If Obama goes negative, it will ultimately cost him either the nomination or the general election. He won't survive being seen as a hypocrite for 6 months.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  68. lee Marietta

    Yes, Obama needs to get on the offense. We all know the first rule to quash an opponent in chess is to attack. We need to know that he can deliver a punch too because the fight in November will be sordid.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  69. Andrew from Miami

    Barrack doesnt have to go negative, cause the pro-Obama members of the media (such as yourself and Wolf Blitzer) will attack Clinton using the Obama campaigns talking points that are provided daily.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  70. D

    Why not, that is the tactic Hillary used and candidates need to clarify any questions that are raised on their persona. If Hillary thinks she is clean chit she might as well prove it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  71. Joe Ossai

    Hillary should and must answer those questions raised by Obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  72. Nicholas Behrens

    I am a Clinton democrat who got into politics when Bill Clinton took office. I came of age during the prosperous 90's when we had a balanced budget and some respect left in the world. Naturally I started as a Hillary supporter. The more negative she goes and the more whining she does the more it turns me off. I have truly been inspired by the way Obama has run his campaign and how he has conducted himself. My heart is with Obama and so is my vote. Hillary who once had both of those now has my contempt.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  73. Stone

    No, but he needs to show the American people that he knows how to fight. We all want a leader that is willing to fight when it is time to fight.

    South Florida

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  74. Kirk

    Obama is stuck in a position I wouldn't want to be in, he has preached round the clock that we need a new politics in America. A politics that is fit to the standards that we as Americans hold so dear. I feel now he might realize that he is going to have to use tactics from the politics he is fighting against in order to get any of this change he wants so badly. Unfortunately, odds are it will either wound him severely, or finally prove that he has some substance to really fight for what he believes in.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  75. Rodger

    Obamas speaches are nice, but the campaign he runs is not. He has sent out those mailers which is a negative tactic along with in the beginning of the campaign making the issue about ex-president Clinton, and that just brought the attention away from Hillary her self and brought up a lot of negative things that should of never gotten started. You may say he's a breath of fresh air, I say he lies like the rest and has not had a positive campaign. The sad thing about all of this is, in the beginning I enjoyed both candidates and liked both very much, now I am just tired of it all. They need to stop this race which neither can win by votes of the people and join together and fight the real race for the White House!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  76. Tom

    Unfortunately, I think he will have no choice but to go negative, since Sen. Clinton took the gloves off first. It's a sad commentary on the state of American politics that the ads pander to the lowest common denominator, and we as a nation are more interested in dredging up (and hearing about) the dirt rather than an open, honest discussion of the issues and how best to address them. What began as a bright ray of hope runs the risk of being dragged down into business as usual, as a genuine call for change gets drowned out by the cacophony of "do whatever it takes to win" politicking.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  77. Raul Diaz


    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  78. Tony, Central California

    It is getting close and therefore scary but, I don't think it is necessary nor adviseable to head down that dark path. If Hillary gets the nod she will not get the White House. If Obama gets the nod he will need to have been squeeky clean to overcome McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  79. John

    Clinton has been brazenly critical of Obama on issues where she is exposed. Whitewater, Osama bin Laden, NAFTA, her failed health care reform.... the list goes on. If a 527 decides to declare open season on Hillary she is going to have two black eyes.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  80. Chris in Orlando

    Obama's already a prickly character. Going negative will only make him seem more like a jerk.

    So given that... YES. He should.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  81. Ross

    He can do whatever he wants. He is not going to win. Democrats are not going to be that stupid and nominate someone who cannot win any of the big states. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. And if by some ridiculous chance Obama is the nominee, it will be like handing the presidency to John McCain. So either way, Hillary will get the last laugh.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  82. roger gopinath

    I have not been following your opinions for the whole election, only within the last 2 months, so I am unsure whether you have already formally endorsed Barack Obama. That being said, it does not take a brain surgeon to come to the conclusion that if you have not aready endorsed him, you should.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  83. Randy Porter Mo.

    Yes, but he can`t without throwing the dirt into his own grave. Hillary Clinton is not a stupid woman. I think she has enough ammo stored up to destroy Obama, but she is going to wait untill the right time to use it. Obama got his feet wet in politics, in the most corrupt city government know to man. Chicago. These people are usually untouchable as long as their political career does not venture beyond the local arena. Hillary Clinton is standing behind her giant sling-shot just waiting to sail her next big dirt clod back at Obama when he tries to go negative. It`s a matter of who has the most damaging information. Both of them could be wipped out of the race before they even get the momination. Then the argument about delegates and super delegates won`t matter any more. Lace up your boots John Edwards, your on deck.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  84. Donna P.

    Candidates don't have to be politically correct to compare each other on the issues and point out obvious flaws. Hillary is making these statements about her foreign policy experience, Obama has every right to ask her questions about her experience.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  85. Natalie Raleigh NC

    He will have to, because the Clinton are good with slinging mud and they will definetly throw everything they can at him to throw him off his game and they do not care whether the voters are excited about the prospect of him bringing change. They are the past and Obama wants to win and get the White House clean and honest for once.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  86. Linda, Boulder, CO

    Well, he said he wouldn't. He said he's the politics of change, no-negativity. Let's see if he's a man of his word, or not.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  87. Joey

    It wont matter, Clinton will win this campaign regardless. People will eventually see Obama for what he is, nothing more then a happy face with no real ideas of what to do.

    Clinton '08

    March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  88. Matt DuMont

    I think the fact that Obama hasn't been negative is what has garnered so much support in his race and his cause to this point. He is refreshingly different and thats the point.

    Now, that being said, he can defend himself and point out that Hillary has problems too without going into the negative attack factory.

    I would love to see Barack be the first Democrat in a long time to just step up to the plate and point out that this political rhetoric is not the point and not the issues. If Kerry had once stepped up and actually said to Bush, The swiftboat issue is hogwash – lets talk about the fact that you sir are leading this country into war after war, while shipping jobs out, and leading this country into recession – I think we'd have a different president right now....

    Obama needs to go after the issues. His points will come across and it wont be attacks on Clintons character. He already wins in that competition.


    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  89. Steve in Andover, MA

    No. My sense is that "going negative" has hurt more candidates than it has helped. Despite the loss of fodder for the news networks' 10-second sound bites, I would encourage Obama and any other respectable candidate to maintain the high ground by resisting the urge to "go negative". Do we really want to elect a candidate that has to rely on negativism?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  90. kim

    negative & whiny – no; tough & honest – yes

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  91. rachel

    There's a difference between going negative and asking the questions that need to be asked while demanding the answers in a forceful way. I have no doubt in my mind that Senator Obama can be tough without being uncalled for and can point out significant differences without degrading his opposition's integrity and character. These are things he must do to win this nomination.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  92. Steve Hall

    Absolutely not. One of the most appealing things about Mr. Obama is ability to stay out of the gutter. If he goes negative, he joins the crowd and becomes just another old time politician.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  93. Joe Guy

    If Obama starts fighting, Hillary would be able to deal with it. She would need Bill to step in. After all, HE is the one that had to deal with the republican 'attack' machine, not Hillary.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  94. Tom (Texas)

    No, he needs to re-evaluate what he stands for, Homeland Defense & Security and talk about foriegn policy issues such as OPEC, partnerships with Eourope and mending realtionships.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  95. pamplin clayton

    yes because she's going to

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  96. Andy- Las Vegas

    If voters weren't so easily swayed by this negative campaigning, it wouldn't be an issue. I'm very disappointed that it appears the negative slams against Obama worked to the degree they did. That says a lot about what our culture, our society has become. As much as I don't want him to have to respond to Hillary's stupid scare tactics (should we just call her Mrs. Bush instead?), I think he's going to have to step up and attack her on several different levels in order to convince the "oh no!" crowds that she's not the best choice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  97. andrew

    I don't want Obama to go negative but isn't Hillary's manipulation of fear exactly how George Bush got to be president (twice)?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  98. Stephanie

    It looks like he might. The Clinton machine is powerful and will do anything to win. It's great to see him running a clean campaign, but I would rather seem him in office.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  99. Judith Clausen

    He doesn't have to go negative, he can simply draw "contrasts" and ask questions, or too nice could be too bad.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  100. John Perez

    It depends upon whether the media is more interested in reporting legitimate matters, or sensational dirty laundry. It is bad enough when politicians resort to negative campaigning, but worse when the media goes into a feeding frenzy over it. Last minute mud slinging only works when the media gets behind it.

    I personally feel that negative campaigning is just more of the old washington politics that this country so badly needs to leave behind.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  101. Sheila

    Yes, Obama needs to get negative. I am a 65 year old (white, middle-class–if it matters) secretary who sees Obama as a breathe of fresh air; I've already given $200 to his campaign and I've never contributed before to anyone. Obama is real!! Hillary is a machine that wears perfume.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  102. Oliver-Canyon Lake Texas

    Well Jack why not? She had been going negative for the last month; what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  103. Emmanuel Reston, VA


    It depends on what the meaning of negative campaigning is. With Hillary it means spreading fears, telling lies, and half-truths on the eve of every election night to her base of uneducated voters to win, and it works. With Obama it means asking a fair hardball question, and Clinton plays the victim card again. So I say Yes, Obama should go negative not Clinton style but Obama style.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  104. oliver marston

    Whatever Obama needs to do to win the nomination, I think he should do. People already see that he's really just a nice guy, if he has to fight back against abhorrent attempts by Hillary and Rush Limbaugh to make him look bad, then I'm all for it. Hillary is not the champion of the people that some people think (just look at where her biggest campaign contributions come from), and I'm glad Obama is exposing that.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  105. Hewitt Spain

    If Obama went negative this contest would be over quickly. Hillary has so much negative political baggage, questionable dealings, etc. that very few would be able to vote for her in good conscience. I think that if Florida and Michigan were to recast their primary votes, Obama should go negative in those two states. Winning in those two delegate rich states would cripple her campaign.

    – Hewitt Spain
    Jackson, TN

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  106. Bob Barkley

    No! Sooner or later we need a politician who places principles over winning. Right now Obama is the closest presidential candidate we have to such a politician. And sooner or later the American voters will have to honor such a person. Hopefully we'll do so before it's too late - if it isn't already.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  107. Char


    My father always told me not to fight with the witless.. she'll bring Barak down to her level, and beat him with experience.

    He simply needs to continue as he started, and let her show herself for the shifty, sneeky, dirty, same ole DC as usual politician..

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  108. erika

    I don't think he needs to. Her negatives which have all played out in the press over the last 20 years are clear and he can simply refer to them. Whitewater, Clinton Inc, Walmart, Cattle futures must we go on....Enough already no more scandalous white house years please.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  109. Rick Dunford

    Orlando, FL

    No. Let's actually see if someone can win this thing with a positive campaign. What a concept,huh?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  110. Rob

    It's all relevant in politics...they'll do whatever it takes; make promises that they really have no intention of keeping, and dig up whatever "dirt" they can to one-up the other runner.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  111. etbueno

    He is empty, Cafferty. Alltalk. No action.
    Why is the Media "protecting this guy?"
    Mc Cain is old.
    Hillary is gold.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  112. Amanda

    It's sad because I would like to be able to say, "No, he doesn't have to go negative to win." As you've said, his campaign has been so positive and refreshing. I wish all voters could focus on this aspect and not give in to the Clinton campaign's negative attacks. However, seeing how Ohio and Texas responded to the Clintons attacks, it seems as though Obama has no choice but to retaliate.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  113. Stephen

    Yes, it's time for Obama to fight back. Hillary has plenty of negatives that the voters deserve to be reminded of. This country can't afford another 8 years with a divisive politician at the helm, even if their from the opposite party from the current divisive politician in power. We need real change in Washington, and it takes pointing out Hillary's many flaws to the voters, so be it!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  114. Lily, Los Angeles

    If he does go negative, he might turn off the college students and young people who voted for him because he positioned himself as "above the political fray" and a visionary. If he has to get his hands dirty and sling some mud, he will appear all too human. Since his support is based on idealism and esoteric notions such as "hope", rather than realism and experience, this could backfire.

    Also the more he digs deep into Hillary Clinton, the easier it will be for the Hillary camp to bring up Obama's dealings with Resko, his support of Farrakkan, etc. He might be opening a can of worms.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  115. Reid

    I think going negative will only hurt him. I can't believe how vicious the Clintons are. I thought Bill was a great President and never understood why conservatives complained about his political tactics, but now even Democrats are seeing how ugly the Clinton campaign machine is. I used to think I'd vote for Obama or Clinton over McCain, now I'm convinced there's no way I could stand to put Hillary in office.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  116. Natalie

    Absolutely he should fight back. All's fair in love and war.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  117. Kuli

    Nah, he should ask pertinent questions about Clinton (i'm sure that is not that far fetched) and continue taking the high road. The persistence of the questioning will let you guys (The press) do his dirty job for him. He still comes out looking all uniting, positive and clean. 🙂

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  118. Dan

    I think he needs to take solid shots but not go nasty. There are more skeletons in Hillary's closet than there are in Barack's. Each time she pulls out one of his he pulls out one of hers. She will soon stop when she realizes the shots she is taking aren't free anymore.

    I have absolultely enjoyed his campaign so far, and I am a republican that will vote for him in November.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  119. Vern Parker

    I don't believe Obama has to go negative but, he must point out the fact that Clintons' supportors are mostly poor and uneducated individuals looking for a handout. I ask that her supportors create their own jobs and stop depending on the Clintons to do it for them. Grow up already!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  120. M. Laws

    Absolutely not! There is already enough negative ads coming from the Clinton Camp.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  121. Steve in Andover, MA

    No. My sense is that "going negative" has hurt more candidates than it has helped. Despite the loss of fodder for the news networks' 10-second sound bites, I would encourage Obama and any other respectable candidate to maintain the high ground by resisting the urge to "go negative". Do we really want to elect a candidate that has to rely on negativism?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  122. Corey Hopkins

    Nope, the nomination is already his. If the DNC allows Clinton to steal it with Super Delegates and fear-mongering, start filling up the McCain balloons.

    Bloomington, IN

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  123. Ant CA

    I think Obama is not going negative... He is trying to get Hilary to do what see promised... This is not negative it is just the right thing to do.. Why hasn't she released her Tax Returns? Why wont she release her documents when she was first Lady.. It tells me she has something to hide...and she will continue to do so, it is about time Obama calls her on it...

    Obama 08 Change....

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  124. Brian, Tampa, Fl

    It is because of the Clinton name Gore loss. What do you think Sen McCain and el al would do to it (Bill name) if Sen Hillary steals the Democratic nomination.
    I think she may lose her voice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  125. Gabriel Coleman

    Barack Obama does not have to go negative in his campaign, but he has every right to question and should question why the Clintons won't disclose their tax returns nor the donors for the presidential library. What does Hillary have to hide from the American people? He should also continue to hammer upon her so-called readiness to be commander in chief. The thought of a president who used such improper judgment on going to war in Iraq and has shown such poor management of her own campaign are keeping me awake at 3am.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  126. Craig

    Hillary Clinton's negative attacks effect some Americans but to the rest of the nation she seems bitter and angry at her inability to win based on her qualifications and feels it is necessary to make negative attacks on Obama. Some of the American public are naive and will believe anything they hear in the media. Will it work for Obama? Probably not. His charm and charisma is to valuable to sacrifice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  127. Lisa Katz


    I love your commentaries and with regard to your question, posed above, Obama should not go negative. It won't hurt Hilary but it will backfire on his nice clean image. Going negative seems to indicate a state of desparation.

    Why can't they all just get along?

    Lisa K.
    Dallas, Texas

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  128. Terry

    This all goes back to the fact the typical American is a bunch of sheep. They only think when others tell them to. They only believe what others tell them. We have lost the ability to be free thinkers. This election reminds me of the Bush appointment. We need to think for ourselves.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  129. Mark Hudson

    Why bother? He's going to lose any way. Go Hillary!!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  130. John Kidder

    The short answer would be no. Every time the Clinton campaign starts playing the "same old politics" I send Barack Obama another $25. That's how I respond to it. However, he needs to defend himself and I'll keep supporting him even if he feels the need to respond to accusations and innuendos.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  131. Cris Morales

    I do not agree with the premise of the question. If Senator Clinton claims to have experience in crisis situations, then asking her to back up the assertion isn't "negative." If Clinton wants to attack Obama on ethics and transparency, then asking her to measure up to the same level of scrutiny isn't negative. Certainly Senator Obama needs to go on the offensive in order to win, but you can't just claim that this automatically means he's going negative.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  132. Gary B

    He will before it's over with.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  133. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    No Jack he should not. He's been selling himself as the candidate who doesn't believe in the old style politics of Washington and promotes himself as the leader who would engage his enemies in dialogue. He needs to keep his armor clean and make sure the mud his enemies are throwing at him doesn't stick. It would be enough to just remind the voters that there is plenty of dirty laundry in the Clinton closet and the republicans are looking forward to a down and dirty campaign this summer. He should not do their dirty work for them.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  134. Michael

    No. Obama can scratch the surface and people will smell out the Clintons. From White Water to cozying up with big business. He can also use Clintons vicious attacks and let the public know that Hilliary can not reach across the isle to get her agenda thru because she cannot play nice with others. It is typical Clinton politics that the people are tired of. If Clinton wins i will vote republican......


    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  135. Lola

    I have struggled with the idea of Obama going negative because his dignity and calm are what drew me to him as a candidate away from Hillary. As a 35 year mother & firm feminist it kills me to see HRC disintegrate into the "shrill shrew" that she is now becoming. After much thought I think he should go negative... we need him to win. With the Clinton tactics of smear & half-truths.. its time to hit back and hit back HARD. Its sad but the American public will want to see that he is tough and can hit back when it needs to happen. Nobody wants a wimp in the White House.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  136. Chris H

    Yes, but carefully. He cannot appear weak by getting hit with grenades and not throwing any. He needs to demonstrate toughness without sounding desperate as Hillary has. He needs to balance the attacks with his continued vision of a better tomorrow

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  137. B Wilbar

    How many of us would just sit there and let talk bad about us and not fight back, I impressed he was held out this long.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    I think he should come out with a very strong fight. Attack her husband as well since he seems to do all the talking for her.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  139. Walt Willey Denver

    Go Obama, put on your boxing gloves and go after her now! If you wait for her to come over to your stool and knock you off it, it would not say much for your ability to get tough and you will need plenty of that to straighten this country out!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  140. roger waters .chigago

    I believe obama should address hillarys short commings a eye for a eye.How can u sit back and not defence your good name,certainly shes no angel.Great coloum bill.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  141. Martin Duperval from Ohio

    He doesn't have to tarnish the Clintons in order to win, Obama is clearly a better choice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  142. Marcel Guay

    Wouldn't that be calling the kettle black?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  143. D. Marcus, Columbia, SC

    There was a retraction by the Canadian government of that story about the Obama aide. It has been debunked, and yet the Clinton people keep mentioning it as if it hadn't been. And it turns out that one of the Clinton people were the ones who contacted the government up there to reassure them that NAFTA was going to be okay. They are hypocrites and non-truth-tellers, since you can't say liar it seems. If calling them out on it is negative, then I say go ahead.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  144. Dennis B

    He will have to engage her if she continues to go negative. I really don't want to see it but Obama has to land a few punches also. Most importantly Obama must show where he stands on this issues. Speeches of hope are great but the voters want to know how he will react to situations, though Hillary herself has not shown where she stands.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  145. Nancy

    He has no choice, but, I do hope he continues to remain civil while fencing off blows and bringing points up himself.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  146. Stephen

    unfortunately, yes. Hillary has rolled out the mud, and now they both have to play in it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  147. Tabitha R


    America, especially, the young people are tired of politics as usual in Washington. Hillary's mud-slinging tactics are to be expected, which is pretty strange with the kinds of scandals she has been involved with. But then, Hillary Clinton is your typical Washington Politician, greedy and power hungry. Let's hope that the people of America finally stand up for what is right!

    Barack Obama has been a refreshing change to politics. He should maintain his integrity, but definately stand up to a corrupt and morally bankrupt politician who will do anything to gain the power of the United States Presidency.

    Minneapolis, MN

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  148. Wil from Baltimore, MD

    I hope he doesn't go negative to win. That will prove that a good and honest person can prevail in american politics. Also, asking her to define her experience and giving up her income records is not going negative. She is campaigning on her experience so he and the american people has the right to know what that experience includes.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  149. gary

    Obama started all the negative's ,slamming Hillary at every campaign about Iraq, Nafta etc. She fires back now he cant take it.She just brings the truth about leadership.I dont think Obama wants to get to dirty.Hillary will tear him apart.He is involved in alot of corruptions that he isnt letting anyone know about.The Clintons have been picked and tore open through the years. They have nothing to hide that hasnt been surfaced already. Obama has met his match with Hillary. She is a little pitbull when she is cornered.I think he better think twice ,before she opens the closet to his corrupt deals. He can sell the American voters ,but he dont sell me. Go Hillary

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  150. Kevin from Seattle

    I've been a voter for over 25 yrs. and for what ever reason negative attacks work but in the case of Obama, I think he should stay the course but I Iike the new strategy of challenging Clinton's "True" Foreign experience.....taking a tax payer paid international trip and take some pictures with an international leader, doesn't represent experience. What actually results has Hillary produce on these trips?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  151. Lane in Des Moines, IA

    Obama does not have to go negative to win the Democratic Nomination. However, the Clintons are known to keep information private that should be disclosed. Comparing Obama's call for the Clinton's to disclose their tax returns to that of the tactics of Kenneth Starr is outrageous. Whether you agree or not with the Starr investigation – calling for them to have swift, complete and full disclosure of their financial records is a sound judgment. They used $5 million of their personal funds to loan money to Clinton's campaign – it is only right that the American people know where that money came from.

    The Clinton campaign can only cry wolf so many times. The Canadian leak for NAFTA (now we find out that it was Harper's Aide that leaked the information and that he also stated the Clinton campaign said their public position on NAFTA was more for political than polcy concerns). The so-called "unfair bias" of the media. Their belief that "only big states count" or "only closed primaries count" or "of course Obama will do well, the state has a large number of minorites" ... Take one away and they come up with another topic to whine about.

    Hillary Clinton's campaign is the campaign that cries wolf ... how long is the American public supposed to believe the lies and deception before we wake up?

    On a side note – the reports that Michigan and Florida having a re-vote could secure a candidate's nomination is false on the basis of delegate numbers alone. the 2025 delegates that a Democratic candidate must achieve for nomination is does NOT include MI and FL. If MI and FL were put back into the mix, then the new goal would be 2181, or 156 more than they need now.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  152. Karl

    Jack –
    I'm really not sure if he should go negative. To do so would be playing right into the Clinton camp's hands, thus initiating a round of mudslinging that could possible cripple either candidate's chances of defeating John McCain in the Fall. However, to risk not responding to the attacks that Senator Obama is receiving from both the Clinton camp and the Republican noise machine is to risk Senator Obama's campaign turning into Senator Kerry's campaign during the Swift Boat debacle.

    I wish Clinton would just shut up and admit that more than 50% of this country don't like her, don't trust her, and would do anything to keep her out of the Oval Office. If she had come to that realization after the Potomac primaries and folded up her tent then, we Democrats might actually be on the road to a victory in November. Unfortunately, Clinton, in her denial and her obsession with becoming President, looks to be doing everything in her power to hand the Republicans four more years at the helm of this once great nation.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  153. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    I have already notified the Obama campaign that if it does go negative it must remove me from its supporter list. Neither candidate is more important than party unity. If Clinton wants to remain negative that is her decision – it will prove only that she considers herself indispensable. And it will continue tearing the party apart. Obama must not do this even if it eventually costs him the nomination.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  154. lakes

    I think he does not have to. Let Hillary continue to shamelessly attack Obama for baseless accusations. The Clintons have a lot to hide....why are they criticizing Obama on the Rezko thing when they have the stigma of Whitewater looming on their heads?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  155. Steven Hanley

    Absolutely NOT!

    The reason he is where he is today, in the lead for the Democratic nomination for president is because he is, or at least claims to be, better than that.

    Now, taking Mrs. Clinton to task for her claim of 35 years of experience and being better prepared to lead this country is a entirely different issue and YES, his campaign should start asking for some details on these issues.

    Selkirk, NY

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  156. mi

    Unfortunately yes. Blue-collar voters are not informed enough about what is really going on behind the scenes of political campaigns to see through what Clinton is doing. So he has to remind people of all the scandals from the "Clinton era”.
    I do not understand how the American people can vote for the Clintons. Obama and McCain are better choices than Hillary…Two families (Bush and Clinton) control this country… what a great thing for the democracy….

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  157. Mike Sowers

    Unfortuately he does, but he runs the risk of Hillary crying and getting votes that way. It's a shame the way the Clinton's have turned to this. It truly shows how much she is just the same ol' type of politician we've had for years. If she could come up with ways to solve problems as well as she does on dishing dirt, she might make a hell of a president.
    Mike Sowers

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  158. Ilene

    It's working for Hillary. I am stunned at the number of people who don't see through that! I guess he needs to get as down and dirty rotten as she is. Then again, we are talking about Ohio. They are the state that gave us Bush his second term. Now they complain because they have lost so many jobs. What the heck did they think was going to happen??

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  159. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    The President of the United States had better be damned good and ready to fight for us. I believe Obama is both smart and tough enough to serve us as President, but he should take this opportunity to make it clear to those with doubts that he has the goods. If he cannot handle the Lady Clinton with all her baggage, how on earth can the Democrats expect him to defeat a war hero like McCain or deal with murderous terrorists in the Middle East. This is the Big Leagues son, and since you say you enjoy playing basketball, you should do what they do on the legendary playground at West 4th Street in Manhattan: You win or you go home! Have you got it in you?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  160. HHH

    Certainly not. Keep the style and grace he possess. Everyone in Hillary's husband, daughter, supporters and campaign staff can see what it took for her to change the situation around to her favor.

    She needs to be careful of the closets she open though. Everyone is the world knows the crisis she went through with the 3am phone call except it was the "red" one. That's probably why she used a "white/beige" in her commerical. Yes, we remember Monica Lewinsky oh to well. We remember her husband lying to the American people.

    Jack, the Clintons are LIARS and will lie or mislead for the sake of winning. Keep in mine though...she still have to come through MS & NC.


    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  161. Jack Graham

    Yes, he does. He hasn't had to yet because the media has handled that for him. Now it is time to roll up his sleeves and play in the big leagues for real.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  162. Christine Donnelly

    No, Senator Obama does not have to go negative. (Those red-button telephone ads are repugnant.) But, he does have to come out swinging, which I believe is exactly what he is now doing. Let's press Senator Clinton to disclose those tax returns and White House papers. Senator Clinton says she has already been vetted, but we have no information about the details of the Clintons' financial lives since they left the White House. Think of all the scandal that was revealed in the 8 years Bill was in office. How much more scandal has been covered up in the past 8 years from 2000-2008? Until we have the records, there is no way to know.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  163. Andre

    Not at all... Just by bringin up the fact that Hillary won't release her taxes and the documents from the Clinton Library, which would show just what experience she is running her campaign on is good enough, I'm sure some media will take that and run with that...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  164. Coyllur

    I believe he has no other choice, unfortuantely. Hillary has made it a very dirty, dirty race. I would love to see him take the high road, but above all I want him to win. As a woman I believe, Hillary is not a positive female role model and should not be our next president.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  165. john jones from Chicago

    That the Clintons would question ANYONE'S integrity is nothing short of hilarious. .

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  166. Mark Greene

    Simply put. He must go negative. Especially when there are negative things to highlight. It is shameful, but the truth.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  167. PammyH

    No, I don't think he can do it at this point. It will make him look like just another nasty politician.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  168. Chris Atlanta

    Obama has to stand and fight for what he believes in. If the Clinton campaign finds a problem with Obama criticizing and questioning her experience; it shows how hypocritical Clinton and her campaign are. Clinton has used nearly every negative tactic against Obama, but she cries foul when he starts to put pressure on her. Clinton is reminding me more and more of a spoiled brat. I’ve voted Democrat my entire life and if Clinton wins the nomination I’m voting for McCain. Clinton has shown me just how dirty, divisive, and negative a politician can be. After seeing her actions it really has turned me off from the Democratic Party knowing they would support a person like her to run our country.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  169. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    Jack, Obama does not have to go negative or use the fear card to scare up votes. But Obama can and has challenged Hillary Clinton on key specifics. Like what specific foreign policy experience has she had and why isn't she being transparent?

    Remember this important fact. In 2004 Bill Clinton speech on the stump for John Kerry said "Now one of Clinton's laws of politics is this: If one candidate is trying to scare you, and the other one is trying to get you to think; if one candidate is appealing to your hopes and the other one is appealing to your fears, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."

    Consider our two democratic candidates of '08 and that sounds like an endorsement for Barack Obama to me.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  170. BR

    I don't think Obama has to go negative at all. One of the hallmarks of his campaign thus far is that he's reacted to every attack fairly rationally, resolved , composed, intelligently and clearly – opposed to irrationally and emotionally. His strength has been well thought-out, precise rebuttals to attacks. In my opinion, all he needs to do is continue that trend..and ramp up the intensity of his questioning Hillary's records. By coolly pointing out the myriad flaws in her record, I believe he can ultimately abate any momentum HRC has gained by going negative. He just needs to remain that fresh option.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  171. Pam

    Yes, I think he needs to come right back at her about all the questions she won't ever answers but talks in circles about or blames someone else for not releasing her minutes from the White House or she is a little busy to get those tax returns. Does she really think we believe she can't just pick up the phone and have them with in a few minutes, like she actually prepared them. Get real, he can ask the questions without getting dirty and spiteful and put on the poor pitiful me act like everyone is picking on him like she does. Also, she complain about getting the first question but on all the morning TV shows she was interviewed first and didn't seem to bother her nor did he complain about it. She will some how find a way to buy this nomination or cheat and make deals to get it. I will not vote for her and as much as I don't like McCain will go with him.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  172. Jason

    It is easy to bully someone who doesn't fight back.

    When the little kid who got pushed around, shoved into lockers, stands up and fights back, the bully runs away.

    Run Hillary, run.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  173. Una

    Yes Jack!! If you have to clean the gutter, you have to get your hands dirty! This country needs Obama and he has to do what ever it takes to win this election! John Kerry couldn't cope with the Republican negitivity and look who we had as our president for 4 more years!

    Obama has to get down and dirty to get clinch this election!

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  174. HHH

    Certainly not. Keep the style and grace he possess. Everyone in Hillary's camp including her husband, daughter, supporters and campaign staff can see what it took for her to change the situation around to her favor.

    She needs to be careful of the closets she open though. Everyone is the world knows the crisis she went through with the 3am phone call except it was the "red" one. That's probably why she used a "white/beige" in her commerical. Yes, we remember Monica Lewinsky oh to well. We remember her husband lying to the American people.

    Jack, the Clintons are LIARS and will lie or mislead for the sake of winning. Keep in mine though...she still have to come through MS & NC.


    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  175. Dave M

    Your question suffers from the same flaw that the rest of the media coverage of this race does: it assumes that Obama hasn't already gone hugely negative, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary.

    Whether it was Obama's memorandum circulated to the press trying to paint Hillary as a racist, or his scurrilous mailings lying about Hillary's positions on things like health care and NAFTA, or Obama's misrepresentations of things like his vote on the usury amendment to the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill or his subprime mortgage "solution", Obama has clearly been engaging in gutter politics.

    Just because the media filter has anointed Obama as the high minded campaigner doesn't mean it's true.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  176. Daris Symka

    Hillary Clinton has dragged the campaign into the mud, and Obama has two choices: get sucked under, or grab a handful himself. Remember John Kerry's silence in the face of the swift boat attacks? When he responded it was too little, too late, and it cost him.

    Barack is astute enough to have learned from that lesson, and after Ohio and Texas he has no choice but to go on the attack. Yes, he is still ahead in the delegate count but he missed his last, best chance to knock Hillary out of the campaign. Now his only hope is to increase his pledged delegate lead to the point where any political chicanery by Hillary with the superdelegates becomes unpalatable to the Democratic Party at large.

    That means fighting fire with fire...so now the campaign goes negative. We can only hope that Hillary and Barack don't build up too large a pile of dirt for John McCain to pick up and toss at whoever runs against him in the general election.

    – Boston, MA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  177. Ryan O'Connor

    Obama does not have to go negative. He should stand tall and continue his campaign as he has. His success so far has been his choice in campaign members, their messages have reflected his vision. Clinton chose the wrong people in her campaign and this is reflected in her tone of recent. We are tired with her rhetoric and many men as myself get an instant feeling of distrust with her, along with a question of her vision. The democratic party would be wise to choose Obama; a nomination of Hillary Clinton would propel a 2008 republican victory. For many, no Obama = a vote for McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  178. jason

    there is nothing barack can do, because he doesnt have enough experience to challenge anybody. He needs to respect people who were in the game long before he ever showed up. The clintons always served the people well and we shouldnt forget that.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  179. Willie Moore

    At this point I believe Barrack Obama has already won the nomination based on pledeged delegates. There will be no way she can catch up with Obama in that catergory, at this point she will have to attempt to chage the rules in the middle of the game with attempts to bring up Florida and Michigan and hope that superdelegates go against the will of the people and take it from Obama which shows what is most important to Hillary is not will of the people but its the desire to run the country. I hope her motives does not make Barrack have to drop to her level but in all means a counter punch to her attacks is neccesary.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  180. Gerald Casale, founder of "Devo"

    If Barack abandons the high road he will have been snookered into rolling in the mud. Watch the famous film, "The Bicycle Thief" to find out what happens to a person of principle when he decides to join 'em cause he can't beat 'em.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  181. Jay Waheed

    No! But to defend his inexperience and to match it with Clinton, he need to pointout the negative characters of Clinton or McCain. ONe way to make yourself look good is to make others look bad. Its not necessarily a good ethics, but thats what general public sees and understand. ( no wonder reality shows are a hit these days)

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  182. SaMmy

    Obama's campaign, as you have noted, has been extremly refreshing so far. One of the aspects that have struck me is his continued adherence to his agenda and message despite the body blows he has suffered recently which has led to enormous respect for him and his campaign. I do believe that instead of turning negative, he should strike back at the negative campaign against him like he did for the 3 a.m ad. I readily agree that Clinton's claims of experience run more so on her longer presence in Washington rather than on any material achievement. Bringing this out does not constitute negative campaigning. It is more of questioning someone's credentials....

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  183. Tammy George

    I think the most recent primaries have answered that question for us. He lost two huge states because his attempt to rise above the fray and stick with the issues. Americans say don't like dirty politics and back and forth bickering however, on a very deep level, they respond to it in a profound way. It's unfortunate that Texas and Ohio didn't see it for what it was but I remain hopeful for the states to come.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  184. Phil

    Tough question because he is an honorbale man who wants to run a good campaign but good guys don't win. Therefore, he should go at it. Show the country what kind of experience she really has.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  185. W Melone

    tit for tat


    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  186. Pam

    Mr. Cafferty: Negativity is all I feel we've had for so long with our current administration – but more? Obama should stand up for himself and his beliefs, but in the end I'm afraid the Democratic Party will suffer. Obama and Clinton on the same ticket has merit, but is it going to require 20 paces, turn and fire? Since Tuesday's election I've spoken to several people who voted for Obama only to defeat Clinton (that number includes my husband), is this what this country needs? I can only hope the "cream" floats to the top – but will it? I doubt it with all the "negative".

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  187. Stephen Oh

    Like it or not, Americans want their President to be "strong" (whatever that means). If someone is attacking you and you don't fight back with equal or greater force then you appear weak. Voters start thinking that if Obama doesn't forcefully respond to Hillary Clinton's attacks, that he won't forcefully respond to economic, terroristic and military threats.

    When Hillary amped up her attacks on Obama and he did not respond in kind he appeared weak.

    Obama does need to go negative if he wants to win because he is in a competition. In competition you need to "hate" your opponent, no matter what type of competition it is (a football game, a war, in business, or in an election).

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  188. Jacki

    I believe that as long as what he is saying is true, then it is not going "negative" on his part, it is already negative on her part. I think that the way the Clinton party has done things is to get people thinking but not necessarily true. I think it has been done in bad taste. The things that Obama is talking about, I also do want to know and it is our right to know.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  189. Sara

    I don't think Obama has to go "negative." I think what he is doing, being more agressive and asking questions about the Clinton campaign could work for him. I think it's funny that Clinton is allowed to go out there and question Obama on his life since elementary school and everything is ok, but if Obama turns things around, he is Karl Rove or Kenneth Starr, and she gets on television and yells "Shame on you, Barack Obama." She turns herself into the victim, whines about negative coverage because she is a woman, and then the news channels fall for it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  190. Andy Cohen

    "An eye for an eye leaves us all blind." - Mahatma Ghandi. I am an ardent Obama supporter and I am frustrated that Hillary was able to stay in this race by going negative in the days leading up to Ohio and Texas. But what is so inspiring about Obama's campaign is that he does not stoop to that level of political animosity. I think Obama should respond by calling Hillary out for going negative to get votes, and he should tie that in to his message that she represents the same old Washington politics. Obama should take the high road on this one; as frustrating as it may be, to start bashing Hillary would be entirely inconsistent with the themes and messages of the honorable campaign he has run so far.

    Andy Cohen, Philadelphia, PA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  191. Angelina Julie Lexington Kentucky

    He can "go negative" all he wants. He still won't win. So he can either be a nice loser or a sore loser - his choice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  192. Patrick McIntire

    We are finally starting to see that there really is not as much to Obama as the media has been trying to make believe that there is. Go ahead Jack. Keep saying that Clinton's people are whining and keep misleading people into believing that Hillary Clinton has any control over White House records from Bill's administration. You don't even try to mention that the National Archives are in charge of that and not her. Go ahead Jack, keep whining about how aweful you think Hillary is. What a disgrace.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  193. Robert

    Unfortunately yes, however these questions are not "negative" they’re true and these are valid. She made the claim, she needs to "walk the talk" I would question here "unbending" non-negotiable stance on Universal medical. Was that the reason it failed before, her hard stance to force "her" plan received NO support. I would also like to question her on the "travel scandal" while she was 1st Lady. We seem to have forgotten about that. After all the republicans will go after her anyway.....you know they will. So I say go for it!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  194. Mark Cohn

    He has already gone negative. He has continuously fed the press with negative stories.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  195. Tiffanie Houston Texas

    No, Obama so far has lived up to my motto....Kill her with kindness!!!However, you can fight back without sounding negative. My question and I am sure alot of America is pondering is .......do we want the Clintons back in the White House considering all the scandal Bill faced? I mean, really, he was facing impeachment. And please, don't let her get away with responding"well that was in his term,and she will now be commander in chief". If she cannot keep him in check as his wife, her becoming "Commander In Charge" is not going to change much. It is evident in past and even his actions in her campaign.....the man has got a hot "head"....if ya know what I mean.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  196. Dora

    Common, Jack. Obama has every right to question Hillary's credentials and experience. Hillary is once again playing the victim card, while attacking him on the other side.

    Questioning the opponent's credentials is NOT a negative attack. The people in the country deserves to know what she really means. What goes around will come around.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  197. LJ

    Mr. Obama should be himself and be honest
    and if Clinton is as smart and as experienced as she "thinks"
    she is she should realize she should bow out and not send the votes to the Republicans which is all she is gonna do by staying in.
    and why does the Clinton campaign only whine when they lose...
    sorry ... I just can believe they think Americans are stupid enough to fall for their lies anymore.
    She sat at funerals and yawned like she was bored to tears and now all you see is her buck teeth... go back to the Senate and keep your mouth closed ... it suits you better and let American get the change we need in Washington.. not the same old same old.
    Thanks for letting me sound off.
    My vote is for Obama or McCain ....

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  198. Susan

    He has already gone negative! Good GOD CNN, take off the rose-colored glasses!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  199. Sandy from St. Michaels

    He should not go negative. We love and support him because of his high ethical standards and his ability to speak truth to power. He can be tough without going negative. How can he claim to be different if he sinks into the mud with the rest of the politicians... that's for his supporters to do...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  200. Jack Graham

    Yes, he does. He hasn't had to yet, because the media has done it for him. Now it is time to roll up his sleeves and play in the big leagues for real.

    Des Moines, Iowa

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  201. Marie

    I believe Obama is bringing to the surface the questions in the minds of the American people.
    And the people don't want to hear or see her or her camp whinning or playing the poor helpless woman victim card again.
    Let move forward and bring about the change that the Great Country is yearning for!.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  202. Howard (Illinois)

    Does it really matter? For being the best political team in newsdom I cannot believe that you have not figured this thing out yet. Remember the exit polling in California that suggested white male voters were being disingenuous about their votes? Did you see how white males all of a sudden have taken to Hillary? Ladies and Gentlemen, unfortunately white males will not allow either candidate to become the next President due to their sex and race. They are manipulating the system to string this out to hurt the Democratic Party chances of winning in the fall. Maybe this is something about which you should call my fellow white males on the carpet? I have no faith in white males, they will not let either be President.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  203. Cathy, Allentown, PA

    Sure, that is if he wants pressure from this opponent on his dealings with Rezko. I'm sure his paper work will be more interesting than Hillary Clinton's income tax return, which by the way she is not obligated to do right now, as she is not a nominee yet.

    Allentown, PA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  204. K from Boston


    Obama actually starting to address Hillary's claims against him and call that Hillary show up or shut up is NOT negative.

    Let's hope he calls her on her crap.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  205. G Shaw

    Your words that Obama's campaign thus far has been "refreshing" is a delight to Obama supporters like myself. It pained me to see Hillary's accusations this past week as well as her good results in Texas and Ohio. In a perfect world, I'd like Obama to continue the honest and positive campaign he has led to this point, but I know politics is a dirty, dirty game and Hillary is bathing in the mud at every turn. So, as bad as it hurts me to say this, Obama may need to stir up the Clinton dirt and bones just a bit to maintain his lead toward the nomination. And, yeah, just what 3 a.m. national crisis phone call HAS she answered?!

    G Shaw
    Indianapolis, IN

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  206. Nick

    Obama doesn't need to go "negative" in order to win. He needs to keep reminding people that he indeed is a different kind of politician who won't use fear, hate, regional differences, religion, or nationalities to divide us. I live in Pennsylvania, and I would describe myself as an independent. I will vote for Obama because I have seen how Hillary Clinton ran her campaign. Any candidate that uses duplicity in their campaign will definitely do it once they are elected.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  207. Chris

    If Obama goes negative to win than he is being a hipocrate.....How can someone claim to be diligent about fighting a "clean" campaign and then resort to negative ads....however, if anyone has been paying attention he has been running negative ads, whether they were about health care or NAFTA he has already produced propaganda and it did not help him then.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  208. Shelby

    Unfortunately, I think that he may have to go quite negative on Mrs. Clinton or the Clintons. It may either hurt him or help him but I wish he could stay above these pessimistic rumors, but then that would not be politics and that would result in him getting run over by the Clintons.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  209. Daniel, Plattsburgh, NY

    While he doesn't have to go negative, in all honesty it's about time someone took the fight back to Hillary after the campaign she's run. While I think Bill was a hell of a lot better president than the current occupant of the White House, and Hillary will also be better if she wins, I find Barack to be by far the better candidate. If he needs to be more assertive in pointing out her issues, so be it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  210. Sam

    Of course he has the right to fight back. At least Obama had the deciency not to go on television and start crying about his loss and the hard he's been putting in his campaign.
    All I can say: What's good for the goose is good for the gander...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  211. Kevin

    Actually, if you listen carefully to his rhetoric, when he's not talking about intangibles about the past or future, most of what he's saying is quite negative. For the longest time he posited little and was negative toward not only what the republicans were doing, but also the democrats. In the meantime, he votes just the same as Hillary and somehow says he's completely different. HA! Actions speak lounder than words Mr. Obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  212. Harry

    I don't think it's neccessary. Media has been playing that role for him all along :–)
    – Redwood City, CA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  213. Terri

    That's why it's called a campaign. A candidate is trying to win at all costs. Hillary knows Barack's soft spot (national security) and she jumped on it like a dog to a bone! His "wink wink" to Canada regarding NAFTA didn't sit well with people in Ohio either. I know, because I was one of them.
    Get a grip on yourself. Just because your candidate got shook up a little doesn't mean you have to come to his defense over every little comment.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  214. julia peck

    no, at least not in the way she is doing it.

    barack obama should try and change the politcal scene. his dignity is part of his appeal. and hillary clinton cannot go too far without alienating people. to me, she already appears unhinged especially during the beginning of the last debate.

    however senator obama can and should point out any distortions, lies, etc and clear up innuendos.

    and let's have a good debate on the illegal war in iraq. the would-be democratic nominee voted for an illegal war? how would that play?

    farmington, maine

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  215. Dave in LA

    Obama does not have to go negative to win. People are tired of negative campaigning tactics. All he has to do is respond quickly and thoughtfully to his opponents' attacks. We will not let him down. If he continues to maintain his current strategy, his opponents will pay a heavy price for there are a growing number like myself who refuse to vote for ANY candidate that employs negative campaign tactics when at least one of the candidates has avoided them.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  216. Corbin Elliott, Barcelona, Spain (Bloomington, Indiana)

    Barack has the right to expose any information that is true. So far throughout his campaign, he has led a positive, honest trail that in the future, others should follow. However, he is being attacked from all angles as all of his competitors are seemingly "scared" of the his potential win. If it takes him exposing the truth, which I do not believe is negative, rather more honest, than that is what it will take. He has the right to defend himself from his attackers, and do what is necessary to show how the other candidates are incorrect his inexperience and their negativity. I do not see his campaign turning negative, but rather more centered on why Barack is a better choice. Change will happen, and change will under Barack.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  217. Mahogany

    Your blog entry exemplifies the kind of biased media reporting, coverage and attention against Hillary that has been seen in this campaign. It appears, however, that Hillary has a stable enough base to withstand all of this. Her recent successes in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island support that notion. If Obama was being scrutinized as much as Hillary has been of late, I bet Obama would not be up and running as well as Hillary's been all along.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  218. Jeff

    He does not and should not go negative against HRC. He simply has to focus on the truth–this empress has no clothes! She has not done anything to justify her capability to handle a crisis unless simply sleeping in the White House counts, which it shouldn't. So she sits on the Armed Services committee, yada yada. It hasn't translated into anything else.

    Focus on the tax returns and the first lady records. Her not showing those to the public suggest that she is just an old-fashioned political hack who should be called out as such.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  219. Keith B

    ABSOLUTELY.....Hillary is vulnerable on a number of topics; land deals; stock options; tax returns are just the tip of the iceberg...follow the money and it will lead to criminal charges. Afterall, that is what finally got Capone. Obama must be resolute and willing to finally drive the stake through her heart to end the national nightmare called Clintonism. If he spares Hillary, she will surely rise again to attack him and destroy the Democratic Party.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  220. Alex Dominguez

    I believe Obama should stay the course. The Clinton campaign will cut their own throats. My concern for the Dem party is this negative ads campaign going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the entire world watching the non solidarity of the democratic party. The GOP is sitting back with a great big grin on their face saying to themselves, "perfect, let them kill each other".

    At this point someone needs to bow out and lets get back to business and go after McCain and quit the bickering within...

    Alex D, Phoenix, AZ

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  221. Rob Hill

    I believe Obama should stick to his ideals. He can and should raise questions and inform without being ugly, misleading, or subversive about it. If the truth is ugly, then he needs to let it speak for itself.

    Ultimately, the test will be one for the American people – will they be strong enough to honestly assess and recognize the character of the candidates? Will they choose truth over noise? If we don't make the right choices, then we deserve what we end up with.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  222. Greg

    Unfortunately yes. And it is Hillary Clinton who has decided to make the campaign negative. But I don't blame Hillary Clinton as much as I blame the voters in Ohio and Texas who rewarded her for her negative tactics! Voters claim they don't like negative campaigning in poll after poll, but yet they either consciously or subconsciously respond positively to the candidate doing the negative campaigning. As long as voters continue to reward negative campaigning, we'll continue to have it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  223. Ben Stange

    Absolutely not. If Obama continues on his path, without tipping too far into that negative campaiging, he stands a much better chance of not just seeming like a different kind of politician, but actually BEING a different kind of politician. Obama's strength in this race comes from the fact that he is the atypical politician. Right now, the most powerful message to have is one of hope and change. Americans see the economy shifting while we are a nation at war with terror, the most vague and dangerous enemy we could have. The idea that a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of hope is what the people of this nation, and the Democrats in particular, need to have as their leader.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  224. Dwon From New York

    He doesn't have to go negative, but he can attack her on whats true. He needs to question all of her assertions by refuting them with historical fact. He has plenty of Clinton history to choose from. I think, he got complacent, just like she did on Super Tuesday, but if he goes after her and shows everyone he has some balls (cause she sure does), then he'll body blow her in Pennsylvania.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  225. Rosalynd Rucker

    He has no choice. Clinton played some nasty dirty tricks before Tuesday and she needs to be taken down! I do not like her at all now. Good riddens to her campaign, she would never get my vote.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  226. Mary from California

    As you said, Jack, Obama's campaign has been refreshing, so far. It now seems like a pit bull (Hillary) fighting a poodle (Obama). Obama does need to bring up negative things about Hillary and remind people what they are tired of. Her "superior" experience includes things we don't want anymore.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  227. Nicholas

    Yes. Hillary will not stop, and her tactics are working. He can't sit back and do nothing, or the Democrats will wake up at the end of this "Well I just don't know about Barack. She has so much experience!" phase and realize they have denied themselves a truly transformative candidate in favor of deception and old hat politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  228. Nancy Kieft-Chicago

    Dear Jack,

    I don't really think asking Hillary Clinton to reveal either her tax returns or her specific experience during her years in the White House is negative. I think it's only fair. If Hillary can't stand the heat, she should get out of the kitchen! What's good for the goose is good for the gander!
    Thank you, Nancy from Chicago

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  229. Charles

    He may have to. But, I hope he can keep the high road.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  230. Cindy - Kansas

    Jack – He has no choice but to go negative. The good news is, he can still take the high road and stick with facts. With Hillary, there is plenty of negative stuff to throw at her without getting creative as she has had to. People just need a reminder.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  231. Daryl from Seattle, WA

    I believe Obama has to go negative to regain the upper hand in the media debate that seems to be taking place 24/7. They say that an eye for an eye makes the world blind and this couldn't be any more true than in this scenario where he needs to take attention off the mud she's throwing. He needs to make her points a wash against his own so the focus can turn back to his message versus hers. The only problem is doing it without completely losing track of the campaign message and also not damaging her so badly that she can't win the general election should she by some miracle win this Democratic primary.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  232. Leslie Sims

    If you're winning then you don't change a thing. Hillary is winning now and Barack has to change his strategy or he could loose his lead. Hillary really doesn't want that because she and her hubby has a lot of dirty laundry. Go ahead Obama. Let her have it!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  233. rene ford

    I hate to say this but you may be right.To think that Obama must get down in the gutter with the Clinton people sickens me.He has tried to remain above the crap that Hiliary represents,but now maybe it time to punch her in the face and show her that she cannot get away with the same old political cra[p that has almost destroyed this country.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  234. Rajeev Gupta

    Sen. Obama needs to counter her in the same professional manner as he has done so far but the responses need to be more stern. I think it is Sen. Clinton's tactic to engage him in a negative campaign to pull him down. He should stay away from negativity and continue to show professionalism and question her.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  235. Erika

    The American public has a right to find out if there's something to worry about in Sen Clinton's past. It seems that the media is being too gentle with her, after her complaints. Has the media actually scrutinized her? What do we know about her? Her tax returns? Her experience? In the meantime, the media has gone above and beyond to scrutinize Obama in the last few weeks.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  236. Roger Hillman

    The selection process should be about the candidates and what they bring to the table in idea's and philosophy. Going negative takes away from the whole point of the selection process. It's clear to me that the Clintons want back in the White House at any cost. At this point I'd prefer that neither of them even walk by it, much less be in it again. I think an Obama vs. McCain for the Presidency offers up some decent choices. There's no real conservative to vote for but, that's the way the delegates bounce!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  237. Dan, Los Angeles

    We're talking about running for the presidency of the United States of America. It's not flag football. All is fair in love and politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  238. D.J

    Jack what will you do if wolf went negative on you. I think its time to release the DOG on Clinton, no more MR. nice guy

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  239. Sean

    He will. They all do. He is no differnet from the rest.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  240. Teri from southern Ohio

    No Jack he should not go negative. He's taken the high road so far, he should keep it up. Hillary will play right into Rush Limbaugh's hands the more negative she goes.
    Keep positive Barack.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  241. John R

    Obama promises change from politics as usual. Part of that change is to leave behind the negativity. If he goes negative, then he breaks trust with many of his supporters. He needs to show Americans you can win and still, for the most part, be nice.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  242. sandeep

    I am a lifelong democrat , age 34 and voted for Bill Clinton twice. I am so sick of the Clintons, their politics, their duplicity and everything they represent. I will vote specifically against them in the fall if Hillary Clinton is the nominee.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  243. Peter from NYC

    Obama should do what he does best; give good speeches that dance around issues without any specific action plans. I like him and he seems to have Presidential potential, but to me he needs to hang around a bit longer to take that honor, particularly because of the mess that awaits the next Commander-in-Chief.

    Jack, Hillary has been through hell and back, while Barack gets the star treatment, which is even evident in this very article. She has worked hard to earn her stripes and it is time we acknowledge that. I can't seem to figure out what it is that Hillary ever did to get such a bad rap.

    Besides, in crisis I always trusted the women in my life, because they are resourceful and rescillient. Guys always tend to think with their egos, which is why we are in such a mess now.

    Go Hillary

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  244. Ed, santa Fe, NM

    We need to break the Dynastic Presidency to turn this country around. Hillary is the queen of lobbyist money so she's already committed to special interest groups and oil corporations. She's also part of the Bush/Clinton Coalition that has run this country since Old Bush got elected. The Bush connection is certainly showing up in her recent smear campaign built on lies, innuendo, negative association games, and fear mongering.

    Meanwhile Hillary refuses to release tax returns and White House papers. What is she hiding? Remember Whitewater, anyone?

    Obama needs to go as negative as Hillary goes to end this egomaniacal idea she has that she is ENTITLED to be president. She is not. Nor is she worthy to be president. Her greed and lust for power should be turning off voters everywhere. One gets the idea she'd sell her own mother to be president as she yaps without substance or fact about her "lifetime of experience."

    Hillary is a Bush in she's clothing.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  245. Steve - Marietta, OH

    Although many people claim that negative advertising is repugnant - it is generally effective.

    Since Hillary broke the "nice guy" campaigning I think that Obama has no choice but to go negative.

    This will be a challenge for Obama since much of his appeal is that he is a different politician.

    Jack - are the people that say it is repugnant the same that it works upon? I expect not, since it may be more effective with Bubba and Joe 6-pack.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  246. Gail - New York, NY


    Obama should just GO!!!

    We've just had 8 years of an unqualified president.... we don't need another one.

    If he feels he must "go negative," then attack McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  247. Jerry Giles

    Sad that a decent man has to drop down to the level of the reality shows, afternoon soap operas and gossip loving TV viewer to survive Billary's negative adds. Barrack has been about our future, Billally about the past and McCain about the staus quo. This nation deserves what it 'gets' and we do have a choice!!!

    Jerry (Age 71!)
    Penn Valley, CA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  248. M Harris

    Mr. Obama dosen't have to go negative... I want to believe that the American public is smart enough to know what's going on but he DOES have to defend himself. The Clinton's are not angels. There are a lot of skeletons in their closet and if they are going to try to gain a nomination by any means necessary... you must be ready to reap what you sow.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  249. Sarah in Florida

    "Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson was whining " – with friends like this in the press, Obama need only sit back and let the press do his negative bidding for him.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  250. christina garza

    I think while I do not like Mr.Obama he should stick to his guns
    and stay positive because thats what he stands for. If something should go wrong for him he can only blame his naive policies.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  251. Heather, Austin, TX

    I sincerely hope it does not have to come to his reciprocating her negative campaigning tactics. His integrity has been refreshing. However, he does need to fight back in some capacity, but preferably by providing a strong rebuttal to her attacks that show his strengths, and not her weaknesses. It's a sad state of politics to know that a candidate lost votes for his refusal to engage in negative campaigning. (Yes, I know I'm naive to believe a campaign in a major race can be run without negative campaigning, but maybe that's why I strongly support Obama!)

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  252. Larry R Mead

    No he doesn't as long as people are gulliable enough to be impressed with his smooth talking about change that really is just empty verbage that has no meat to it.

    Larry R Mead

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  253. Jeff

    My answer is yes.Obama has no choice but to go negative if he has any chance of winning the nomination.It is against his stated principles,it will be very bad for the democratic party and may cost the party the election in november.The clintons will use all the dirtiest tricks to win.they are known for that.The only way to hit back unfortunately is to go dirty as well.Obama,bring out the dirtiest stuff you can find about clinton.And there is a lot of it or,give up the election.You have no choice.You gotta do what you gotta do.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  254. Lo

    Absolutely! He should bring up Whitewater, the Lincoln Bedroom "rental", her complete lack of any foreign policy experience, her admission that she didn't read the NIE before casting a crucial and WRONG vote that has cost so many lives, her changing campaign slogans, specifics about her lobbyist supporters, and her flip-flop on Nafta. He should do an attack a day (enough material there). And then go lower still and show some ads with military funerals – focus this back on Iraq and the lives being lost each day. He should then become trite and act outraged that she didn't categorically deny and renounce any suggestion that he is Muslim (on 60 minutes). Then, he should go on the Daily Show to show his lighter side. It all works.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  255. Carol

    How ridiculous Obama is. The media has been so ugly to Hillary Clinton. Obama is not all he appears to be. No one really knows him, he's just fooling a lot of people. Hillary has been around much longer and has so much more experience about all policies. I think she is just brilliant when she debates. You can tell the press doesn't like her they are always negative about her. Well, was I glad she beat him in Texas, Ohio and New Hampshire. I hope she does the same in PA. She deserves to be President. Why is everyone so worried about her taxes? That will be something else for them to stay on her about. I'm sure whatever they say, she will come back with a great answer and the right answer. She's one smart lady.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  256. Charles

    Unfortunately even though the country says they don't like negative campaigns, we all can see from last Tuesday, just how effective negative campaigns really are. It is sad. It shouldn't be this way. Unfortunately Hillary has nothing to run on so the only way she can get votes is by scaring the people, just like Karl Rove and George Bush did. Amazing that anyone would want to be like the republicans after the mess they've put this country in.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  257. Ken, Alexandria, VA

    You are only negative in your intentions...Clinton is negative. Obama has never addressed her FLURRY of scandals. He has never addressed her husbands FLURRY of scandals. He hasnt even mentioned her up and coming trial with Peter Paul that would ABSOLUTELY damage the democrats chances if selected for the nomination. But yet, she darkens photos of him, she is not sure of his religion, she lies about his stances on NAFTA, she questions his integrity, she questions his leadership. That's negative, attacking someone who has not done harm to you is negative. Plaining the victim, when your not a victim is negative. Obama is not going negative he is standing up for himself.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  258. Safayan

    He seems to be the only real person in the recent political hisory of America. he looks like the only chance we MAY HAVE???? for a better chance to a more peaceful world, so as nice as he is, he has to do anything(even getting nasty) to win this war of ideas and judgments.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  259. Jason, Silver Spring, MD

    Again, first off, this is a pretty slanted question you have posed with a remarkable introduction. My two favorite lines from this..

    "Barack Obama’s campaign up to this point has been refreshing. He seems almost too nice to be running for political office." and

    "Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson was whining that Obama is acting like Kenneth Starr"

    I love it how when the Clinton camp brings forth opposition to what Obama's camp is doing it is called 'whining' but when Obama brings forth anything it is fighting back. He has attacked her plenty of time and he has hit low as well. He is not above the fray and this question is null and void since he has been negative as well.

    Each candidate has to do what they have to do to get ahead. I am still on the fence with whom I will vote for but the truth of the matter is that Clinton pulling punches does not make her a whiner (which, by the way, is that because she is a woman?) or Obama defending himself makes him negative. Let's be realistic, he is a politician. He is going to say what needs to be said to get elected – that is a fact. He is not better than the rest, a politician is a politician – I say tomato and you say tomato. (Albeit, that phrase really doesn't bring home the point in written form but you get the point.)

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  260. Francis M.

    As much as I am an Obama supporter, and as much as I want to see him win, I would rather him lose than go negative. Part of what he stands for is a new kind of politics. It's one of the reasons he is doing so well. To get dirty with the Clintons would go against everything he stands for.

    -Leonia, NJ

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  261. Jim Glass

    voters are so used to fear mongering, they don't know how to deal with hope.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  262. Judy H

    Absolutely. We want to see Obama fight back. And let's take a look at BILL CLINTON'S domestic and foreign conflicts of interests. They could be a significant issue in a Hillary administration. Why doesn't anybody care?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  263. Trish

    I hate that Barack may have to get to this point of being negative but now it seems like a necessary evil.

    The same way that Hillary wants to drum up memories of the "good ole' " Clinton years, Barack needs to bring up the fact that alot of Bill Clinton's legislative ambitions were highly seasoned with Republican philosophies during his second term in office and di let to support working class families. Maybe even say, how Bill Clinton had the ability to get rid of Osama bin Laden but choose not to at the time. Since Hillary wants to use her husband's administrative years as an indicator of how she would run the country, use all his administrative negatives against her.

    Also a small snipe could be the fact that Hillary started to call herself Hillary Rodham Clinton once she set her eyes on runnning for the Senate to separate herself as her own person. Now since running for President, the name written on her signs has reappeared as Hillary Clinton all over again. This woman panders to whomever in order to win which thins her veil of credibility.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  264. S. Shah

    Jack, of course he does. Obama has tried to be positive in this race and that has cost him Texas and Ohio. He needs to counter Clinton's attacks with his own!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  265. Shannon

    Clinton, Maryland-(Retired Navy)
    He will need to come across as "hard". Hilary is using everything she can to win the nomination. He must bring up her taxes and why she hasn't released them. Maybe include the "White Water Scandal". I certainly don't want her answering the phone in the White House. She is far too emotional. Actually, she'll probably have ole hubby answer the phone knowing her! I think they both are running for president. She needs to go!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  266. mek

    The American people need to be reminded of Hillary's not wanting to release tax returns etc, nay other issues pertaining to her integrity. He can do this without being so negative about it. I tell you there are people out there who will hear him once and vote for him, just as there are others still voting for Edwards. If he campaigns well enough he shouldn't lose Pennslyvania by much, he may actually win it. Need I remind you there are some in Michigan and Florida who decided not to go and vote as they had been told it wouldn't count; how about their rights. Clinton only remembers those who went to vote for her. Very unfair. Yes, Yes...Obama needs to speak out.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  267. D.R.

    I hope he doesn't. Love in the face of hate.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  268. Mara

    If "going negative" means raising questions about the experience and competency of one's opponent, by all means, please do so. Hillary's had 20 some years of this, often directed at her because she's a woman or because of her husband's actions (and her support of him). Mr. Obama is certainly free to continue to question her credentials, as she is his. In fact, that seems to be the only way to get the press to engage in a little digging on both of them. And since we already have a pretty good idea of Bill's skeletons as President, how about looking into Mrs. Obama's sudden big raise following her husband's rise to Senator?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  269. jj@sa.com

    You say his massage is about hope and change. Please explain to us what his hope and change is, up to now he has not explained what his plan is for the so called hope and change will be.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  270. Barry L. King

    I find it ironic that the Clinton campaign is actually using the same tactics that was used against them in the past. How can one expect someone to continue to take punches and not throw some back. Barack Obama is from Chicago, and when we are punched you can expect to be punched back even harder. That's the Chicago way.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  271. Diane/Allentown, PA

    I don't think Obama has to attack negatively, but continue to ask questions and demand the answers. Continue to point out eight years as First Lady does not a president make.

    Obama needs to comment on Hillary's remarks after Texas "we're just getting started!!" – WHAT? You've been on this campaign how long, and you're just getting started NOW? So, we can expect a change in our government, when, around two years into your administration? Will you be willing to fund America the same way you had to fund your campaign should you manage it the same way?

    These are just the obvious Jack, you don't have to run nasty ads, challenge her words. I don't think anyone needs to go all "Karl Rove" on anyone. Been there, seen that, and nobody liked it......

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  272. Andre

    Hillary wants questions about Obama's relationship with Rezko when she has someone by the name of Peter Paul in her closet... won't take too much for Obama to throw a little sand in the Clinton machine before the parts wear down... Charlotte,NC

    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  273. Justin

    Mr Cafferty,

    Im my opinion Obama possible does need to go a little negative to solidify the Democratic nomination. It seems that everytime Obama brings up somthing about Hillary she (or her staff) goes crying like a school girl to the media (e.g Kenneth Starr comment), which shows that she can dish it ot but may not be able to take it.


    March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  274. Steve Eshbaugh

    Yes, if he wants to win, he must go negative. Hillary has hit him hard, and the American Public is generally far too susceptible to scare tactics. He should quickly point out that Hillary has accepted just about as much money from health care lobbyists as any senator. Yet I'm supposed to believe she cares about health care? Whose health care? The insurance companies?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  275. Raj

    Jack: if voters have an appetite for and get swayed by negative attacks, then its a basic quality that Obama should have, atleast in the primaries. He should reserve his positive/civil campaing for someone who would understand and best reciprocate: McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  276. sharon

    Yes, I'd like him to show some backbone.
    Enough with the "float like a butterfly" ....lets see if his "bee" has any sting.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  277. Mitchel J

    No, he doesn't. Is integrity a principle of the past? Part of Sen. Obama's allure is his reluctance to engage in the dirtier side of politics. Part of the Clinton plan is to drag him down to their level. Like crabs in a bucket Jack. Mitchel J Onawa, IA.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  278. Michael Baron

    As refreshing a Obama has been and continues to be, I would not fault him if he "went negative." Hillary stooped to a catty and divisive low when she stated that she and McCain have a lifetime of experience, while Obama had but a singular speech in 2002. Obama's speech in 2002, against the Iraq War was uncannily acurate. If the funding for and incursion in Iraq had been nixed, there'd be 4,000 brave American sons and daughetrs (and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians) alive today. There'd be thousands fewer injured vets now requiring a lifetime of care. There'd be over $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US to spend on universal health care, better educational opportunities, and infrastructure. Moreover, Obama is a human beacon of hope for every minority here and abroad and for any person who came from an imperfect family background. I'd like to believe the electorate is worthy of a person of siuch integrity, itellect, and grace, and that hey might judge him on the "content of his character." I am hopeful the electorate is ready to do so.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  279. Neelam

    He does not need to do so. In any scenario, he'll be the nominee according to majority of Americans. there is no way, Hillary will get more pledged delegates than Obama.

    The only way to deny Barack's nomination for presidential candidate is have superdelegates vote for HIllary. But that would be in favor of neither Democrats nor Hillary's november candidacy nor the superdelegates themselves who can not be better off by reverting the public will.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  280. Jose

    What is wrong with speaking the truth. Getting the truth out is only "negative" when you don't like it. Truth is Ms. Clinton found 5 million dollars to drop into her campaign earned from "public service", makes me want to do some "public service"a if they pay that much. I, personally, want to know how a Senator make s that kind of money.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  281. jay wright

    If you look at the delegate system, it seems as though Obama will win more pledged delegates than Clinton, even if he loses every remaining contest (by no more than 10 points each).

    In that regard, negative campaigning can only hurt him–he can afford to rise above the fray.

    But would that make him look "weak"? And will Democrats select their candidate just based on who has more pledged delegates? If he can't "throw a punch" in a friendly primary (as this has been), why would Democrats think he could throw a punch in a general?

    It's a quandary. Politics of change (positive messages) versus politics of experience. Can he be true to his message, but not look weak?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  282. Steve Westman

    One of the beautiful things about Barack Obama's campaign sofar is that he has been above the usual "politics of personal destruction," to borrow a term from the Clinton years. I'm sure that he will feel badly about going negative, but if that's the way they want to play, he'll have to do it and climb back up out of the mire once he secures the nomination.It's a shame that Hillary feels so entitled that she'll play Karl Rove to win.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  283. Misa

    He does not have to go negative but he has to challenge her morality, her character and the image she has put forward. So yes let us see her tax refunds – let us know exactly what she refers to as 35 years of experience and everything else that would allow us to make a judgment as to who she really is. This is not negative – he would simply be asking us (AND THE PRESS) to verify before trusting.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  284. Mitchell

    No, Senator Obama shouldn't go negative. Senator Clinton is just sticking out her claws. Senator Obama should be the more mature candidate and stick to the issues.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  285. Joe

    I don't think Barack Obama should go negative. Up to this point he has acted above negative campaigning. At one point in a debate he said to Hillary that "this is when we get into silly season in politics." I fell after saying such things it would seem a bit Hipacritical to now go negative.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  286. sharon pearson

    i would hope that barack would continue on his current path of dignity, self confidence and class. as he has been doing, when something inaccurate is said about him or his campaign, i would expect him to correct and clarify. when he sees something amiss for sen. mccain or sen. clinton, i would expect him to confront it with his firm, assertive and diplomatic style. one of the many reasons he has had the amount of success he already enjoys is that he displays one of the qualities of true leadership, that you don't need to be negative towards others to make yourself more powerful. those who sling dirt and negativity say far more about themselves than the one who is the recipient. our image internationally is very negative, let's show the world that we have a leader with class and sophistication!
    sharon pearson
    columbus, ohio

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  287. hj

    Go away, Jeck. It is not Obama's first time go negative. Also Clinton's punch is reasonable to let people reflect what Obama said. Obama is not perfect as he demonstrated through his speach, and people need to do more due dilligence to understand him when he does not go very specific about policy and position. Just a word of "Change" is nothing, and we have seen that 8 years ago with an aloquent Bush.

    I support Hillary, as we know campaign is similar to a debate. Hillary clearly demonstrate her knowledge and her understanding of the question. She lead people to think, not just to blindly scream change is on the way.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  288. Nancy

    No, I don't think that Obama has to go negative to win the Democratic nomination.

    However, he has the right and should question some of Clinton's statements regarding her expertise and abilities regarding national security, economic and social issues.

    As voters, we have the right to know. She has not been vetted as stated. Maybe Bill has, but not Hilary.

    Why isn't she revealing her income statements, or her schedule while First Lady? In addition, why isn't her Master thesis from college, in which she makes arguments against the reasons for passing the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, kept locked up? In most colleges, ALL masters and doctoral thesis are made available for review and research.

    Asking hard questions of both candidates should not be perceived by the public as negative.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  289. James Antonicello

    I would hope not but the Clinton machine will do anything to get elected. This poor guy will have to be very thick skinned to withstand all the negatives now coming his way. These are not decent people!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  290. David Orbach, New York, NY

    I hope not.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  291. tco

    He's already been negative by repeatedly stating Clinton made an error in judgment about Iraq and acting like a saint when in fact he didn't have a vote on that issue. Know how the GOP is going to handle that one? They'll say of course he'd vote against the war in Iraq because he was borrowing money from Rezko who had ties to Saddam - whether it's true or not. The facts have never stopped the GOP Rove Attack Dogs. Obama's current answer of "I've already answered that won't cut it." He should enjoy the present because Clinton has been tossing him slow pitches and missing the strike zone most of the time. When Rove's Attack Dogs launch their attack on him as the Democratic contender, he's going to be hit with fast pitches from a hundred different directions all at the same time.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  292. John W

    Have to go negative? I am not sure, but I think he should go a little bit "negative," aka calling Senator Clinton to backup her soundbites. What is her international crisis experience? Does she have a Redzco in her closet? Will her "I'm more experienced than him and getting an unfair shake from the press" work against Mr. War Hero John "Experience" McCain?

    It is better for these issues to be raised and tired out in the primaries than to leave them sitting rotting just out of sight, waiting to be thrown in late October. If either candidate is unable to defend or transcend negative distortions of their record now, especially Senator Clinton who has never run in a single competitive election campaign as a candidate, they have no chance against the inevitable Republican Swift Boating coming up.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  293. Steph in PA

    Obama, playing dirty? He already has with his so called 'not campaigning in Florida’ yet; his commercial "accidentally" hit the airwaves of Florida prior to the Florida primary.

    Not to mention he denied that his campaign met with ANY Canadian Government official regarding NAFTA, only to change his story a week later to "Yes, we met however it was at the Canadian Government request, not ours."

    Sounds like “change” I can believe in!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  294. Malika, San Diego CA (Ohioan originally)

    I don't think Sen. Obama has to go negative. What he has to do is go "real". What Clinton did the weekend leading up to the vote was raise a doubt – not even a reasonable doubt, like a prosecutor would have to do...just doubt about whether he did "wink wink" to the Canadian gov't regarding NAFTA, not a reasonable doubt, but just a doubt that he'd be better able to protect American babies at 3am, and what was strategically smart in the short term was to do all of that after spending a week "whining" about the media's "bias" towards Obama. She wanted the media to do her sliming for her. She succeeded temporarily. What Sen. Obama does now is say, okay, let's talk about these things, all he has to do is raise a reasonable doubt and he'll win because most of the reasonable doubts will probably have actual guilt attached to them, unlike the doubts she raised about him.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  295. Elliot, Cincinnati, OH

    Jack, you and most of the rest of the media have been so pro-Obama, its ridiculous. Even this question is biased. Obama has been just as negative as Clinton all along. The media has just turned a deaf ear to it because he's their golden boy. The nice guy facade of Obama is just that–a facade. He is politics as usual, no matter how much he says he isn't.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  296. Ericka Fisher

    Unfortunately I believe that Sen Obama has to go negative to fight off Sen Hillary Clinton. One of the reasons I am drawn to Obama as a voter is because he has run a clean, motivational campaign so far. He continues to congratulate and compliment his opponent, proving that ugly politics is not necessary to win the popular vote in a political race and he tries to remain focused on the issues. Sen Clinton on the other hand, continues to take the focus off the issues and continues to slam Sen Obama with negativity, accusing him of not providing details when she lacks detailed information on her stance herself.

    My opinion is that behavior is the very reason, Sen Clinton began to loose ground amongst Democratic voters. If its change we are looking for, then why would we vote for a candidate that is continuing the negative behavior of campaigns past. It wasn't until her camp ran that ad campaign that plays on the fears of every parent in America that Sen Obama began to loose his footing. Therefore, to deliver a TKO to Sen Clinton, Sen Obama must dig up all the dirt on her that he can find and give her a taste of her medicine. As a fan of the Clintons, Sen Clinton has turned me off because she is behaving like a sore loser.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  297. Andy - Collingswood, NJ

    Sen. Obama may be temporarily reeling from the pathetic and pathological fearmongering and cynicism of Sen. Clinton and the generation of Boomers she represents, but he must not allow himself to be tainted by their malice and self-loathing. Here's hoping America is better than Ms. Clinton's red telephone ads and attackdog surrogates.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  298. Matthew Mark

    So far, Barack has been able to paint a picture for the future while not personally assualting Clinton. I believe he needs to continue pointing out factual information, and let the viewer/reader realize that maybe Clinton is more interested in being elected than in improving the quality of this country.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  299. Jonny Calson

    This issue demands some attention by the main stream media. Yet none! They seem to be one sided focusing predominantly on Tony Rezko and the Canadian memo leak about NAFTA. See for yourself and remember this adage "he that lives in a glass house should not throw stones".
    That they accused the media of bias doesn't not mean you should now let them go with favorable and free press coverage. She is yet to release her tax forms-what is she hiding. These are things the media should be talking about as much as they talk about Barrack Obama. It is fair journalism to scrutinize both candidates equally.
    The Obama campaign is playing nice and decent but if HRC wants to play dirty, i think they should also throw some of this stuff at her. See the video for yourself. Seeing is believing!

    Vote Obama!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  300. Paul from Oxford, OH

    Barack Obama does not need to go negative to win the nomination, but he does need to question Hillary Clinton's experience. For as much as the claim is thrown around, we have yet to see any specific examples of the experience that makes her more qualified than Obama to hold the office of President. A focus on legitimate criticism of the Clinton campaign is the strategy the Obama camp should take.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  301. Ralph Paulding

    You see, that is the problem with all levels of politics today. We are now questioning whether a positive, constructive person should "go negative" to respond to the attacts his rival has levied, as well as hopefull show people he can dish it out as well as the others.

    The next question probably will be should he yield to the special interests and take their money to win? Unfortunately I am jaded and believe he probably should be more forceful and, if possible, do it with legitimate goals such as speaking about the 800 pound gorilla, "Bill" who actually will be the real person to deal with.

    I for one would like to have a government that I could be proud of and could restore our image to the level it use to be!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  302. denise

    I believe that he does not have to be as nasty as she has been, but he needs to be tougher. What is she trying to hide?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  303. Arunanwu

    NO! NO!
    He should not but point out the question of 35years experience. Where? What are those issues during that 35 years of experience that makes her more qualified than him. What foreign experience is she talking about? Was she an official White House staff speaking for USA government during those trips.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  304. benji

    Hillary may have went negative just before Texas and Ohio but there is no real conclusive reasons that she won because of the negative campaigning.

    Hillary has conclusively won all big states and Obama seems to have an edge in smaller states with a small share of delegates.

    Whether Obama should or shouldn't go negative is obviously a campaign decision he must make, however, it is still presumptuous to assume that negative campaigning is the cure to winning campaigns.

    Remember Obama didn't have an 11-state win streak simply because of negative campaigning.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  305. Michael Rosset, Toronto

    Unfortunately, he does have to fight back. I was a Clinton supporter
    before, but am totally turned off by their "win-at-all-costs" tactics.
    Even elevating McCain over Obama ('Obama gave a speech in 04').
    People are sick of that stuff, yet it obviously has affect.
    He should kick up enough mud to win, then take a hot shower.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  306. Jeff Gimbel

    This election is going to be of the US People voting against a candidate, not for one. Republicans are going to vote for McCain just so Hilliary or Obama will not get in, and likewise Democrats are going to vote for Obama or Hiliary so McCain will not get elected. It really is a sad state of affairs, and I can not see how Obama going negative would help.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  307. Keith Peterson


    We all know what happened to McCain in South Carolina in 2000. If he doesn't go negative and lets her continue with the attacks then he's going to have a very long and difficult road to Denver.

    However, I'm so disgusted with Hillary and her negative campaigning that I almost detest her as much as I do George W. She accuses Barack of using Karl Rove's playbook yet it's her campaign that looks like it is being run by Republican strategist.

    Because of her recent tactics, I will seriously consider McCain in November if she's the Democratic nominee...and I'm a liberal Democrat!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  308. Eric


    I would not say that he needs to go negative, like Clinton has gone negative, by twisting words, bending the truth and talking out of both sides of her mouth, but he does need to standup for himself. He can go on the offensive and I hope he does to show Hillary, Bill and all the other Clintonians that their bullying practice will not work. Ask hard questions about the tax returns, about their photo with Rezco, about their comments on NAFTA and a campaign member who said that Hillary would not deliver on removing troops from Iraq. Finally, if they are going to attack on his land deal... then maybe they should look into the Clintons'. Does Whitewater ring a bell?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  309. Michael - Washington State

    He should act just like her – do whatever it takes to get every rock to squeeze out votes. This is open warfare – all is fair in this wonderful nation of free speech! So by all means stoop down to her level and do what it takes to WIN! Lie, cheat and steal those votes! Go Barrack GO!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  310. Tina Dixon

    No I don't think that he has to be negative at all. He doesn't have to stoop to her level. He will win this with his dignity and character. When he becomes the Democratic Nominee no one will be able to say that he went negative at all.

    I believe the questions that he's asking are legitimate questions that need a direct answer from Hillary Clinton. We are tired of the I'm too busy running for President response and I will submit my tax returns as soon as I get the nomination. No Hillary submit the returns just as every other politician has had to do thus far. And as far as 35 years of experience, I absolutely believe he should ask her to explain and elaborate on that. Please help the american people understand exactly what crisis decision that she's had to make at 3am.

    These are all fair questions that deserve a direct answer!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  311. Jonathan

    No, he shouldn't go negative. He has inspired my life as a black man, even if he didn't win the nomination, he is a winner, a role model and as a young man I will always look to his life for guidance. Thank you Obama for your courage and message of hope. I didn't believe at first you will reach this far but you've proved me wrong and lots of people. Now I know I can do anything regardless o the hurdles. Obama should stay calm and focussed on the issues.
    Fredericton, Canada

    March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  312. Myrna

    Obama DOES not need to go Negative to Win, Plain and Simple,! Why sink to Hillary's Level !! She has set a new low for Negative Ads and Vicious attacks that were uncalled for ! As a Mother and and Grandmother I am appalled at what is going in Politics.. I have allready emailed Her Website to let Her Know how her TV ads affected My grandchildren, and she Better Listen !! Most American Voters have seen her for what she is ! Obama will do allright, YOU do Not need to resort to Playing dirty to win !! Obama Suporter in Wisconsin

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  313. T. Webster

    I don't think Senator Obama should run a negative campaign, the United States is hurting for honesty. We need an honest President, someone who is going to tell the truth even if it hurts. Change has to come in the truth. Thanks and God Bless us all.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  314. Missy from Syracuse

    I thought it was great the way Obama was running his campaign, and I once thought Clinton was a good choice for the president. After hearing the last 2 weeks of headlines Obama would be the only Democrat I would vote for. I believe he now has to fight back (hopefully on a more truthful note then Clinton is doing) or he will look like he is soft. And we all know how Americans do not like that.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  315. Nicholas, New Orleans, LA

    Yes. Hillary will not stop, and her tactics are working. He can’t sit back and do nothing, or the Democrats will wake up at the end of this “Well I just don’t know about Barack. She has so much experience!” phase and realize they have denied themselves a truly transformative candidate in favor of deception and old hat politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  316. Cassie - California

    Well, if he goes negative..will he still be viewed as the new messiah of politics? It's hard to preach hope and joy all day and throw mud at the same time.

    I think this time is proving that Senator Obama has to do more than give uplifting speeches to the masses in order to show he can go up against McCain and win in the fall.

    Welcome to real politics Obama...it's a cakewalk right now compared to what's going to happen when the Republicans start throwing the punches!

    My choice:
    Clinton / Edwards '08

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  317. Mario S. de Oliveira

    In my opinon, Mr. Barack will become president of the US.

    As, per Ms Clinton, altough I liked very much her husband, there is the fact of voting for the war. That alone...will not qualify her to be trusted what
    she will do w/the toops, after taking office.

    Go Barack!!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  318. Irvin Ackerman


    Unfortunately in this Country the people are driven by negativity. We sit and gasp at the news all day and night waiting for the next big disaster to happen. We feed off of negativity, devisiveness, and fear, which amounts to a bad equation for our society.

    Have we become a bunch of patsies? Osama bin laden doesn't scare me, so called islamic terrorist don't scare me, but yet they still throw this threat around and it works. Mean while seniors have no food to eat, millions losing there homes, broken government, broken system and we as a people are not to hope for a change from the status quo.

    Although the message of hope is a great one, when it comes to battling the Clinton's it is impossible, they will stop at nothing to get another shot at the White House. They say Obama has gotten a free pass, never hear about White Water, Lewinsky, impeachment, or Senator Clinton's money awarded to her by the health care industry neither. Ever since she has played the pitty card, the media has taken it, hook, line, and sinker. While Senator Clinton may not have been involved in all of it, she can not take credit for the good and discard the bad.

    So to answer your question their is no way he can stay positive when the shady last minute acts of the Canadian letter, and the 3 A.M ad obviously helped her in the end.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  319. Erika Chester

    Rome, Georgia

    I believe that Obama can fight back with solid, probing questions without being negative. It's possible to defend one's campaign without being nasty and negative. If Clinton gets defensive about fair questions then maybe people should perk up and consider why that is.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  320. Wayne

    What do you mean go negative?? From the first time I saw him in a rally, he was throwing negative attacks at Clinton and Edwards. Just because he covers it up with prose, does not mean he has been the candidate of change he promised..Obama should stay on message. His attacks against Clinton are silly, since there are nothing to them. Her tax return....wow. She said she would release in April. Big deal.

    Obama has already proven that the retoric he speaks is not in line with his true beliefs. So, I would re- ask the question and ask Should Obama's attacks be more noticable. Anyone(except the media) knows Obama has been throwing insults from day one.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  321. Leah

    I am an Obama supporter and cannot believe that people are actually falling for the Clinton type of politics she has gone back to the back biting ,mud slinging campaining. People seem to have fallen for it though. Given this what do you think she will do in the White House? be above board I don't think so I think she will make her nasty little deals along with her spouse who seems to be wanting another term. Maybe Barack should hit back and hit hard although to date he has become the epitome of what we need in this nation. I just hope he is our nominee or we will I'm afraid again become the nation of politics as usual. Did Hillary stop fighting for insurance for everyone and take monies to the tune of 800.000.00 from the insurance lobbyists.? She is part of the problem not the solution.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  322. Darrin - Columbia, TN

    I applaud Senator Obama for not stooping to the same level as so many politicians. I'm hopeful he can win over Hillary without slinging mud, but if she keeps it up, he may be forced to fight fire with fire.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  323. Bonita Yarboro

    I don't think he should go "negative", but I do think he should make sure that facts about Sen. Clinton's records are transparent and that she and or the press do not overlook questionalbe decisions in her record. I believe that he can do that w/o going negative. For example when she flaunts her "35 years of service" He can ask her exactly what that is rather than allowing that statement to stand as if it her words are holy and cannot be questioned. It is the tone he uses which will frame how what he says is preceived by the public. The truth does not have to be negative, but the truth must be heard or we will wind up with another 8 years of dirty tricks and do nothing politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  324. Matt Duryea

    I believe Obama does need to hit back. We all know he is a different kind of candidate but there is nothing wrong with pointing out the negatives about another candidate. He owes it to Democrats to expose her flaws as the Republicans will surely do so come November.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  325. Sonya Sandifer

    I think it refreshing to have someone running for political office who believes in the American spirit and that can do attitude. Unfortunately we live in a world were cynicism and hypocrisy rule. I think if Mr Obama wants to win the presidency he will have to get down in the mud with the pigs and wallow.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  326. RepublicanWatcher

    It wont hurt Obama who will only look as if he is rightfully defending
    himself to Hillary's underbelly attacks.

    We will be able to really see if Obama can defend himself intellectually
    when the real race comes against McCain.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  327. Seamus, Chapel Hill, NC

    Does he need to go negative to win? No, Accordiong to the math. He's going to win the race. But he shouldn't let Hillary run roughshod on his reputaion for the sake of her own politcal ambitions. It's a very tough place for him to be in.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  328. Mary from Kansas City

    Sadly, I think Obama will have to get tougher on Clinton. One of the most appealing things about Obama is that he is truly a decent "gentleman". But Politics is Politics and winning depends on how smart you are. He can call Clinton out and put her on the defense without losing his "gentlemanlieness", but it takes smarts to pull that off. He has them. HIllary Clinton claims to have "over 35 years of experience" that makes her a better candidate. What 35 YEARS is she talking about? She's been a Senator for 8 and I give her that...she was First Lady for 8...which doesn't require policy making or crisis handling. Is she trying to tell us that during Bill Clintons Presidency SHE was the one running the show? I think the "experience" she is bragging about mostly belongs to Bill. I

    'll take Obama any day...and MAINLY because he's dragging his feet about "going negative". LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM!!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  329. Jeremy A

    Unfortuneately yes, he does. This was shown by how effective Hillary's attacks on Obama in Ohio and Texas were. I hate to see him have to resort to sleezy politics like Hillary, but a lot of Americans seem to respond to it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  330. j

    He has every right to ask her for transparency and to be accountable for her claims to foreign policy experience, if only because the media hasn't been 'vetting' her.

    However, he should avoid ad hominem attacks, like calling her "the most secretive politician." Instead, he should ask repeatedly: "What are you hiding from the American people?" This is especially true, because she used this line against her 2000 Senate opponent, asking him to release his tax returns.

    Her tax returns should only be an issue because she donating to her campaign and her Whitehouse papers because she is claiming that time as part of her "35" years of experience. Otherwise, I would say these questions would be out of bounds.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  331. Cyrus - NY

    No, he shouldn't. So far he has run a very positive campaign, talking about issues, bringing people together from across the aisles. Going negative on Hillary would backfire on him. Besides, running a respectful and civil campaign would ultiamately save the day. The more Hillary goes negative, the more people will side with Obama. People are already saying that Hillary would stop at nothing to win the nomination. Going negative on Hillary would prove to the public that Obama is not the "agent of change" he professes to be.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  332. Raihan Islam

    Barack has fought for his candidacy with great transparency and attitude. It would not make sense at all if he decided to shift down to kitchen sink tactics; after all, he has stated several times, along with his campaign, that Hillary's campaign has turned desperate and negative. The Barack I believe I want as the nominee would never change to that route, and for political positioning, contradicting himself would not be to his advantage. Barack is an open and honest candidate.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  333. student

    The Clintonian negativity weighs heavy on voters. Is it a bit ironic that the negative 'vetting' to which Clinton claims Obama has not been subjected to, is eminating from her. Hillary Clinton may go down in history as the person who single handedly destroyed the democratic party. It will take decades for democrats to trust their party again. The party is barely recognizable right now.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  334. Michael Baram

    Yes, and he should. Why not bring up the billing recrods fiasco, her 10,000% gain in a very short time on some questionable investment and her failure not only to come up with any healthcare bill in 1993 but also refusing to release all the related information. If living in the white house as the first lady gave her foreign experience, then by going to movies, that qualifies me as an experienced producer and director.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  335. Jackline Langat

    I think Obama has shown what kind of man we need as our president, but i think by him being a nice guy the bad people have been able to prevail so it is time for Obama to show the american people that he too can take on bullys, Why is it that everytime Obama questions the clinton campaign they come out whinning?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  336. April in texas

    While I wouldn't say negative, I would think bringing issues of her tax refund and proving her experience is a good start. These are honest questions. I agree he has alot he could bring out with past issues as they have alot of dirty dealings. Fight fire with fire is normal politics but there are right and wrong ways to address them. Obama can bring issues to the table without seeming like the normal politician so to speak.

    Austin Texas

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  337. Jason Cross


    No, but Hillary does – and if she wins it will be a pyrrhic victory. She will have raised all of the issues and questions that will be thrown right back at her by McCain, for which she will have no response. I'm not sure whether that is comedic or tragic irony. I guess it depends on which party you associate with.

    Jason Cross
    Sequim, WA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  338. Diran Arslanian

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    So far a positive campaign has worked but at some point you have to strike fire with fire. If he does not then the undecided voters will consider him weak. We know the price John Kerry paid for taking the higher groud. In addition, Clinton has been playing this strategy game of COMPLAINING about the media on one hand then saying she's a FIGHTER. So which is it? A fighter never whins or complains about their environment........



    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  339. T. Avedisian

    There is no question that he must meet fire with fire, and generate his own "red phone" commercials about her...better to do it in the last days of a campaign when most make up their minds, than early on when there is a lot of time for rebuttal. There is a lot he could do: run tapes over and over of Hillary's NAFTA speech in the mid 90s (he should have done this in Ohio); hammer her vote on Iraq; question her "experience" (in truth, it is not more extensive than Barak's since being first lady does not provide presidential "experience"); and otherwise dig for dirt (I hate to acknowledge this, but there is a well-spring of negativity about Hillary's past that would be fodder for Barak). He just can't sit idly and be defined by her. If he does, he is history. If he does not go on the attack, he is done.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  340. ronald

    Obama should stay focused on the change aspect of his message, and show the world, that america is will change. Let Hillary do all the negative ads, and obama will be the better man for him and our country.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  341. Gary Dahl

    Sadly, yes. He's taken the high road so far and it's been inspiring and refreshing, but he'll need to fight back if he wants to beat someone who is determined to win the nomination at any cost. He should continue to pressure her to go public with her missing tax returns, white house papers, etc. You can bet the farm that her apparatus is pouring through his history to find anything negative they can use against him. He'd better to the same to her.

    Jacksonville, OR

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  342. Darryl from Wisconsin

    Obama should nott stoop to her level. Rather he should continue to run a positive compaign and contiue his message. Most Americans are smart enough to see Hillary's desparate attempts to win office at any cost.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  343. Chris

    I think the negativity needs to stop. PERIOD! Instead of all the bickering, smear tactics, etc.., Obama and Clinton need to find common ground and leave it there. Those of us who are voting are tired of it and think its doing more harm than good for the Democratic party. Here's a question: does America really want another Republican president for the next 4 years? Hillary, Barack: form an alliance and it won't be so difficult to choose.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  344. Two Cents

    It's sad that one has to "go negative" at all. But, that's the world we live in. I don't think Obama has to "go negative" so much so that he just brings out issues that may be of interest to the voters, in particular, facts stated by Sen. Clinton to substantiate her run for President. If she claims to have so much experience, which was her theme from the beginning, then I think the American people should be made aware of this experience. It really shouldn't be a big deal to provide evidence of this. I know there are some issues regarding the rules/policies for releasing certain documents from the White House years. But surely, there ought to be some kind of unofficial/non-confidential way to obtain proof of this experience while being First Lady...

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  345. Shah

    The Clinton campaign is going to receive a backlash of the kitchen sink strategy. The experience question can actually be in Obama's corner if you count how many years each one actually has been elected to public office.

    Orlando, Florida

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  346. zee -zee

    I dont think is necerssary for obama to do that. well, if thats what he thinks will boost him up, he can go ahead and make my day. He just have to face the fact that, America made the decision. Hillary is more compittent to be the commander in chief. He lost ohio and texas because, they do not think he is compartible for the position. she did nothing wrong. so, obma, move on you lost it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  347. observer

    it's about time he does that. So far she has been the most disrespectful candidat, if she wants to play dirty politics it will be only fair if he does the same. All she is trying to do it steal the election from obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  348. larry loebig

    What goes around will come around. Now that he is the front runner it appears as if the media love-fest has faded. If you think this is negative now, stay tuned... it is gonna get even more intense. It's time to rumble.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  349. Kevin

    He does not necessarily need to be negative in the traditional form that we have seen from other politicians. It is entirely appropriate for Obama to take aq step back and say "Wait, what is this foreign policy experience that you are talking about?" If Clinton wants to run her campaign on the idea that she has the experience to start on day one, then the voters should be allowed to see what that experience is. She needs to release her records so that voters can see what exactly her role in the Whote House was.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  350. Chris

    Mr. Obama has to walk a fine line. Hillary's attacks have illustrated for the American people what lengths she will go through to win. It has given Barack the appearance of being much more balanced and fair. However, his reluctance up until now to attack the Clintons has made it look as though he may not have anything on her. He does, and should go on the offensive. He must be careful not to alienate Hillary supporters too much, though. He'll need 'em.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  351. Brad Baker

    Barack Obama does not need to go negative to win this nomination. Obama has been an inspiration to many first time voters who have been turned away by the political process. He is one of the first politician in recent memory who has not only been a vocal leader, by a leader by example as well. I hope he does not go on the attack because I think he and the country will do better and he takes the high road and wins the nomination with the class he has already shown.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  352. Sudeep from Oklahoma

    I don't think so. I don't want to follow the pundits by legitimizing the attack method. It won't work for atleast for democrats. I don't think Obama camp should go negative. Delegate mathematics is for them and I doubt it will reverse. Therefore, I suggest them to stay the higher ground and gain respect from thoughtfull voters and public. I don't want to see the democratic process being hijacked by negative campaigning and media legtimization of negative attack.

    I pled with media not to legitimize this method.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  353. Asian Immigrant

    I think Obama has no choice but to reciprocate. This is a dangerous and slippery slope. If he wins by attacking, then he looks like all the rest. If he loses, then any hope of change (that is his central theme) is lost. I think he should take the risk and attack. At this point he has been declared too weak to play big league politics. Attacking will restore faith in him as a big leage politician (I know that is warped logic...)

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  354. Scott

    I think that Obama should stay above the Rovian tactics that Clinton has been using. There is a reason why he has won so many states, and as the old saying goes if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  355. Rachel

    Obama has to raise questions about what indeed are Hillary's qualifications. This is legitimate. Also if she wants to attack his character, he has to stand up and face her with the truth of the Clinton scandals. She will do anything to win, and sadly, in the end, will end up sullying an honorable man and giving the white house to the Republicans.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  356. Alex Schmitt

    I don't think he has to go negative, but he can't play the punching bag for Hillary's attacks. If he is going to run against McCain in any capacity he has to show that he can stand the attacks, dish out a (legitimate) few of his own, and maintain the magnetic personality that brings people to his cause.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  357. Dan Heuchert

    I sincerely hope Obama does NOT go negative. His focus on a positive message, on hope, and his refusal to be "Washingtoned" are what make him unique. Start slinging mud, and he'll be like any other politician.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  358. Craig Cole

    It's about time you asked this question!! You know as well as the rest of America, Obama has no choice but to fight back, it's his only hope of survival against the "Clinto Machine'. Remember just a few years ago when Kerry didn't respond in kind to Bush and his "Swiftboating". Obama will suffer the exact same fate as Kerry if he doesn't learn how to play "Down & Dirty" with HRC! She will say and do just about anything I believe to gain the Democratic Nomination.

    Craig Cole
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  359. Kenyze

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Bringing up legitimate issues like ,specifying her involvement in those foreign issues she saying claiming is part of her experience, isn't going negative. I for one would like to hear what the First Lady at the time actually did while she was in Northern Ireland, China, and Kosova. Anybody who's really interested in the facts knows the answer, but I would like to hear the spin she puts on them. As far as her tax returns, she is a public figure and that comes with the territory. The notion of her releasing her tax returns after possible clinching the nomination is obsurd. I personally think Barack should take off the kid gloves off and see how "tough" she really is, enough with the NICE GUY crap!

    March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  360. Wendy

    A sad fact about politics today is that no smear, no innuendo and no dirt hurled however transparent or outlandish can be safely ignored by the maligned candidate. Stories can be spun that , to a candidate who are victims of such, seem ridiculously contrived or against common sense but to ignore them or discount them without a well thought out strategy is a mistake. Someone will believe them if one does not immediately respond. That Hillary's Campaign is resorting to them is unfortunately a mark of not only desparation but of the old tactics which have turned off so many to politics and threatens to again. For her to do so means that she does NOT expect him to do the same since she must know that more has been done to her in the past and can be cited again as "common knowledge" ..proven or not. I would expect that Obama's supporters like Ted Kennedy and other significant veterans will consider giving her a medicinal dose of the negative to get her to back off rather than let Obama go against what he believes is the way to honorably conduct the race and court losing.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  361. Josh Eboch

    Obama needs to go on the offensive, but he needs to do it against McCain, not Hillary. By questioning McCain's reputation as a "liberal conservative" or "maverick," Obama can make left-leaning independent voters realize that contrary to popular belief, McCain is a true Republican and he will lead with Republican ideals. He can also prove his ability to take on the Republican nominee in the general election. Obama is the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but continuing to acknowledge Hillary's presence in the race simply perpetuates the perception that it still is a race. That attention may lend her the weight she needs to make a power play for super-delegates or the Florida/Michigan delegates and steal the nomination from the voters.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  362. 20-something from Iowa City, IA

    I respect Obama for being careful about negative retaliation in the past few weeks... I think it's safe to say that the Clintons have quite a few more skeletons in their closets than the Obamas, and it must be difficult for Obama to stay away from shooting at such an easy target. It's exactly that kind of dignity that only adds to my admiration at the way he and his staff have run this campaign. At some point, however, I think he'll need to make it known that he won't take those jabs laying down.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  363. Andrew Moon

    No, Barack Obama does not have to go negative to win the Democratic nomination. A large part of his appeal is his positive nature. Attacking Clinton may only prove to be detrimental to his image as well as his campaign. The fact that Clinton is outrightly attacking Obama makes her look desperate. These candidates should be focused on expressing their ideas; they should not be concerned with the shortcomings of their opponents.

    Westborough, MA

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  364. Paul J. Watson

    Obama needs to stay smart, positive, and mature. He needs to be careful about anything negative, because it will quickly make him "just like all the rest." I suggest that anything negative be transparently reciprocal, and should be used only when it seems quite clear that he can expose an understandable and true hypocrasy by the Clinton campaign. To a good extent, I think that has been what they have done so far, but if fear and fatigue set in, it could get tough to stay on the high plane Americans are yearning for. Be careful.

    I am hoping for a scientific poll on the 3am crisis phone call question. I saw a non-scientific one on CNN the other day in which Obama was winning by a healthy margin.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  365. James in Dallas

    With all of the mess around the Clinton's money dealings, I think that he is right to ask for her tax returns, foregin policy paperwork, and why she is not releasing either. It would be nice to see all of this experince come to light that she probally dosen't have or she would have done it by now.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  366. Mike W.

    What am I missing here? Asking for what should be public information from any candidate for President of the United States isn't negative! Hillary should either produce the information or drop her highly suspecyt claims that she did anything but harass the White House staff while she lived there. As for her finances, what makes her special that she can get away with foot dragging on the release of her income tax information and the media let's it slide?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  367. jesuino from Newmarket Canada

    No he is the only hope we have.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  368. Dezzy

    Obama should just keep doing what he's doing. At the end of the day, people will see thru all of the tricks that Clinton and her staff are up to. If he takes the same route that Clinton has decided to take, he will look weak. He got this far being a good man, he shouldn't change anything.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  369. Sourou

    Obama does not need to go negative; but he needs to clearly call out Hillary and her camp. There are many unanswered question about the Clintons, and he needs to draw attention to those. He cannot continue to let them abuse him without responding but truthfully. He should draw attention to the fact that her camp was the one that first contacted the Canadian authorities about NAFTA. He needs to remind people of her refusal to release her tax returns because she knows the American people would not approve of some of their financial dealings. He needs to clearly ask her to let us know what national crisis she dealt with. In the end, we need to remember the Clinton years scandals, and ask ourselves if we want to go back to that. These are legitimate questions and should be asked.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  370. Two Cents

    It’s sad that one has to “go negative” at all. But, that’s the world we live in. I don’t think Obama has to “go negative” so much so that he just brings out issues that may be of interest to the voters, in particular, facts stated by Sen. Clinton to substantiate her run for President. If she claims to have so much experience, which was her theme from the beginning, then I think the American people should be made aware of this experience. It really shouldn’t be a big deal to provide evidence of this. I know there are some issues regarding the rules/policies for releasing certain documents from the White House years. But surely, there ought to be some kind of unofficial/non-confidential way to obtain proof of this experience while being First Lady.

    Tallahassee, Florida

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  371. Bruce St Paul MN

    he has to tread a line between nagative and slimy. He or someone on his behalf, has to bring up Clinton's negative's enough that she has to respond. She has dodged questions related to her experience, her financial delaings, her PAC money, her ties to the drug industry, her taxes. She has to be made to defend herself.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  372. Linda in Abingdon, MD

    I'm on the fence about this one, Jack. His campaign really has been refreshingly void of negativity. It's one of the things I admire about him. However, Hilary's campaign has no problem with doing so, and if that's what lost him votes, then perhaps it's time to play ball on her court. Just once, I'd like to see a campaign where we dealt directly with issues, instead of this kind of idiocy.. hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  373. Tmat

    He will go negative to win and he will be like any other politician. Refreshing doesn't solve our problems. The American people voted for Bush not once but twice. What does that tell you? We do not need an inexperienced person in the white house again.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  374. Robert Bateman

    Obama should stay on the positive side of things, for after all, that is his message. Sinking to Hillary's level will only serve to justify the Clinton's, and in doing so abandon our only chance.
    If Hope stands strong againt the grime of today's hateful divisiveness, then it shall surely prevail.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  375. Pete

    I sure hope he keeps it clean. That is why he is the most unique individual running right now. He is absolutely refreshing in the run for presidency. He stands firm in his beliefs and claims to want change and to focus on the country. No mudslinging necessary.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  376. Cheer

    Absolutely do not go negative. Whoever like or dislike Hillary have already took their stand. Those who can be pursuaded are not voting for Clinton because they like her, but because they are not sure of him. He needs to make a case that he can take them out of bush(es) into the promised land. He needs to stay in his high road to beat McCain there.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  377. Rose

    Obviously, Barack has had that option given Hilary’s background but he has avoided it.

    Unfortunately, the political climate rewards those that “go negative” so if he wants to be competitive, then he will have to sling some mud.

    This is the part of politics that shuns many Americans away from the process.

    Basic Econ principles apply—consumer demands drive the product, not the other way around. In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    Although Barack may want to run a new type of campaign, stay above the fray and change the status quo it is clear that sheer desire will not accomplish this goal.

    As long as Americans reward candidates such as Hilary for this type of behavior, then it will continue and those that utilize these tactics will reap the benefits.

    This entire campaign has been a learning curve for Barack Obama and he will have to figure out a way to sling mud and show the public that he can “play the game”.

    I am convinced that if Hilary wins the nomination by turning against one of her own (she is comparing herself to John McCain!), then she will ultimately lose in November.

    I do believe that Barack can take a hit and throw a punch (and he will do this against John McCain if he wins the nomination) but he has been reluctant to do so against Hilary because he suspects that it will damage the party in the long run.

    Unfortunately for voters, Hilary is willing to take that risk and fortunately for her, it is paying off.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  378. Von Ripon, CA

    Yes. The affect that the Clinton tactics had on the most recent primaries shows that the attacks were successful. In many ways people are starting to take his kindness for weakness. Sometimes the most professional and ethical candidates have to throw an elbow. Even though many of the Clinton scandals were publicized, the American people have a short memory. The key is to launch the attacks close to the primary so she spends the last few days on defense. He certainly won't have a shortage of material to use against her.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  379. Piper - Lincoln Nebraska

    I don't think Obama needs to "go negative" to win, just more effectively either answer or deflect attacks directed at him - much like what McCain did with the lobbyist scandal. He just needs to dodge better or get back up faster – -not necessarily hit back.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  380. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    If you are in a fight and decide to play by the rules, while your opponent decides there are no rules and anything goes, then you are at a major disadvantage. Obama must not only defend himself, he must inflict damage on his opponent if he is to prevail in this type of environment. It would have been great if they could have kept it on a higher level, but Clinton has decided the only way she can win is to hit below the belt. Obama must be willing to get down and grapple with her if he is to succeed.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  381. Michael

    Absolutely not! I hope I am not the first to remind you of this, but Barack is winning!!! He should just let Hillary keep up the negative attacks and Democrats will soon realize this scorched earth strategy cost them Congress in 1994 as well as the White House in 2000. With regards to her foreign policy experience, we should put a mission accomplished sign over her February 4th Super Tuesday speech showing her amazing ability to think past a certain event, which is seeming eerily similar to our current president.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  382. USATX

    "Believe' it is time for him to "fire back'"at HER,everyone knows nice guys usually end up last,
    Obama tried & is trying to keep the campaign clean, Clinto fired the first shot, she must be either running scared,(getting desperate, or being coached by "BillyBoy",)
    but it would be interesting for her to answer
    WHAT foreign policy experience she has?

    and that doesn't mean having dinner with a foreign dignitary when her husband was president.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  383. Ron Williams

    No, he should not go negative. Hillary has shown her true colors, now let the public see what she is all about. He needs to keep pointing out how she runs her campaign and remind the public that she has bad things in her past like Whitewater but he will not go negative just to WIN.

    March 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  384. Brian D

    No, stay the high ground. Don't go negative. Team Clinton's only shot is to drag Obama into the gutter with them!

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  385. scope213

    He has no choice really. The "uneducated" people that supposedly Hillary has a base in obviously buys all the nonsense she spews to them. Therefore, what choice does Obama have now? But I think if he does go on the offensive that it's based on facts versus the crap Hillary and her campaign slings at Obama.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  386. Kirk

    I think there is a difference between making deductive statements, asking pointed "questions" and going negative. When you intentionally manipulate or abuse information for political gain THAT is going negative. Obama is simply defending himself and asking critical questions of Hillary.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  387. Craig

    Senator Obama does not have to be negative to counter Senator Clinton's claims of experience. What he should and does need to do is begin to call her on the carpet regarding these claims. I do believe that he has more experience as an elected official and law-maker overall than does Clinton. He needs to professionally question her on national security, foriegn policy efforts, peace negotiations, international crisis handling, etc, etc, that she has performed. Unless of course she was Defense Sec., Sec. of State, V.P., Sec. of Finance, Chief of Staff to Pres. Bill Clinton and noone knew about it. But then, would that not constitute some sort of fraud?

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  388. Jeremy Tennant

    I apologize for beginning with a Bushism, but I believe that he should "stay the course." Both figuratively and literally, he has the high ground. He should not resort to the desperate guerrilla tactics that Mrs. Clinton and her operatives have begun. A person of conviction and character far supersedes that of a person that runs a campaign like like our enemies, Al Queda. I see America as a nation of principles and I want a person with principle, conviction, and exceptional character to lead and direct my country. If Obama continues this course he will earn my vote.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  389. cornelia

    Everything lies in balance, BUT... He needs to be SPECIFIC in his criticism, he needs to identify precisely what is wrong with Clinton (and there is plenty out there!!). He needs to come up regularly with amunition against Clinton, that's the ONLY way HE can focus on his message of change and hope.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  390. maria Steiner

    I've always wanted a candidate who will tell me what he/she can do for our country instead of what the other can't... and yes, that is why Obama has been appealing. I hope he doesn't sink to her level yet at the same time he needs not to be reluctant in calling her ploys exactly what they are... negative. Call me naïve, but I think if you can't win on the basis of your own credentials and personality, you don't deserve to win.

    Cleveland, Ohio

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  391. D.G.Parekh

    No. Barack does not have to go negative but he needs to tell people about his accomplishments; which apparently is none. He needs to give the people feel comfortable that he knows the political machinery about how to get things done in Washington. He needs to prove that he is not in the dream world. He needs make people feel that he is not going to be another BUSH with the message of Change. He lacks too many qualities which he has not identified himself to make peole feel that he is upto becoming President of USA. Only HOPE and CHANGE words does not take too far at least to the people who think rationally about Can he do what he says he can do?

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  392. Alison

    Yes, Obama needs to go a little negative. It's fair game to point out that most of Hillary's "experience" she refers to is experience she gained as first lady–a role in which she was not called upon to make important decisions! Hillary says Obama's campaign is based on a speech . . . Obama needs to say that Hillary's grand experience was only that of first lady. He desperately needs to point out the FACT that he has more years of public service than she does. If Hillary is the nominee, then you might as well get used to hearing, "President McCain" a LOT! There is no way this country will elect Hillary Clinton. Dems better get behind Obama if they want the white house.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  393. Joyce Schulte

    Not for one second! Not if what he's been saying all along is what he intended to say, if that is what he meant to say. He would shatter everything he's been saying, and put himself into the same cooker as all the other Old Hacks and Old School Thinkers!

    But let him go ahead, I like to see the fear factors come to life.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  394. Victor

    I think Hillary is the one with free pass from the press. No one seems to dig into her "35 years of experince". Her foreign policy surely is based on making a few minutes boring speech in China about women rights. Obama needs to expose all her campaign scandals starting with her one time biggest campaign fund raiser Peter Paul in Hollywood, CA. If she can come up with kitchen sink strategy Obama should unleash the bin strategy. Remember nice guys finish last.

    Victor Oklahoma city,OK

    March 6, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  395. Mark Smith

    No, he should not go negative. I'd rather be a Senator who can sleep at night than a President who is haunted by unethical behavior. We've had too many of the latter recently.

    Hamilton, NJ

    March 6, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  396. Kelly

    Obama doesn't need to get "negative" he should just tell the truth....ALL of it. The truth is there are a lot of questionable things in Hillary's past. He has every right to bring these up to draw contrasts between the two of them. Frankly, after she implied that only she and McCain are ready for the whitehouse anything should be fair game. That is the most undemocratic thing I have ever heard!! Sell out your party to try and make your case stronger....Where did the true democrats go??

    OBAMA '08

    March 6, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  397. Laura


    What are you talking about! Senator Obama has already been negative in his stump speeches and mailers (an example of such is saying that Hillary thought Nafta was a boon to the ecomony.)

    He claims he is different. He is an outsider. Maybe that's why he hasn't heard hearings on the war in Afganistan because he is outside and not inside Washington doing his job as the people of Illinois elected him to do.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  398. Laura

    He does not need to be negative – he can be honest. He can ask honest questions such as where are her tax records, why she went against the DNC rules and is now asking for the FLA and MI votes to count? Funny how she would not do that if the roles were reversed and Obama had those votes.

    He is a breath of fresh air and so uplifting. She is demoralizing and caustic. He should continue to be himself but push a bit harder. The truth will prevail and so will he...

    Laura, San Diego, CA

    March 6, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  399. Kathy in Elgin

    Obama needs to do what needs to be done to stand up, defend himself and his beliefs. He needs to tell us why he's better for the country. If he can't do that now, against Hillary, he doesn't have a chance against the right wing swiftboaters.

    By the way, I did vote for him in the primary and will hopefully do so again in the general election.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  400. Jeremy

    There's nothing negative about exposing the truth of his party rival. Hilarie is just nasty about it. That's the only thing her 35 years of experience have made her good at. If Obama doesn't expose the truth about Hilarie than there will be millions of suckers voting for the corrupt Clintons and nothing in our country will change.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  401. James

    For Barack Obama to go negative at this juncture in his campaign would be a grave mistake. He is supposed to be "different" and a "change maker" to the current government ideology during the election process. While saying that he can't go negative he can make comments during speeches that create a wonder in the political spectrum that the press could take and create the controversies for him.

    The Clinton's are known for being aggressive and bullish and getting away with saying negative things because of the way these things are said and framed against the opponent they face.

    If there is to be a "dream ticket" of Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton they can't attack each other without creating confusion for the public and the party they represent. While Hillary Clinton can claim that Barack Obama doesn't have the experience needed, she could say that 8 yrs as the vice-president is the perfect thing for our next president.

    Barack can't say the same.... he is young and energized this country as nobody in my lifetime has (33 yrs old) ever been able to. His ideas are far reaching and fabulous sounding, but reality is that to get them done would be more than an accomplishment and lean more towards a miracle. Give the people a dream and watch them scream for it..... at the end still stays a dream if we can't achieve it.

    Finally the fear in my guts of guts... are we really that far out from segregation, fear and ignorance of others of color, no matter what color they are, that an attempt wouldn't be made on the life of our maybe president? There are fools out there that think incredibly insane outdated thoughts that the minorities in our society should stay in their place. Negative ads from Barack would in the mind of the bigots in this country would, (from their view) confirm these racist ideas even more.

    Cincinnati, OH

    March 6, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  402. Joanne, Alberta Canada

    No, Senator Obama does not need to go negative. He does however need to become more assertive in letting the country know just who he is and what he's done in the past. In an interview on Monday, John Kerry stated that Senator Obama has more legislative experience than Ronald Reagan or George Bush had when they took Office. Mr Kerry also said that Senator Obama has more Foreign policy experience than Bill Clinton did when he took office. I think Senator Obama should concentrate on that message and start letting the country know very specifically what he has done in these areas. He needs to start making the country aware of his vast list of accomplishments.

    March 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  403. Audrey

    There's a difference between going negative and rolling over, playing dead. Obama has let Clinton get away with far too many lies so far. So much so that she's blatantly making up experience now (she claimed to broker the N. Ireland peace treaty of 1996). He needs to vehemently call her out on her lies and also needs to be far more vocal that he's been an ELECTED official for many more years than she.

    March 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  404. Shalonda

    I think Obama should change his stradegy, I would not so much as call it going negative, I would call it "showing Hillary's faults". If Obama continues to let Hilarie "do him in" he is gonna loose this election. She has skeletons in her closet also and if Obama brings it out they will not only see how she is only a making of Bush but by all the negative things she has put out she has no proof. But Obama has truth to his. Now he needs to fight back,show America that he will not stand by and let casulaties go on and just say forgive them,for they know not!

    March 6, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  405. Bill S

    No, he shouldn't. He's running an aggressive but dignified campaign. Let her wallow in the muck with Karl Rove; it says more about her than it does about him.

    Candor and honesty are two of his best weapons again the Clintons, who are neither candid nor honest.

    That approach will work against McCain too since he's become so desperate to be president.

    March 6, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  406. Jimmye Whitfield

    It's unfortunate that America can only hear and respond to lies, chaos and violence. Those who do it best are the winners! I would not like for the Obama Campaign to drop to the level of politics as usual just to win. If the American people are not ready to be lifted out of the mire of decadence and fear, then the future will respond accordingly. Americans are so afraid of change that the word itself blinds them to the real possibility! For sure the Change Obama speaks of will definitely not look like the Washington we see today which serves the few elite against at the expense and labor of the majority of Americans. I can see why Washington would bear it's fangs in a heart beat!

    March 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  407. Dan in Las Vegas

    No, he doesn't need to go negative, but he needs to start presenting real plans to deal with things. Like the old Wendy's ad went "Where's the beef?" Isn't the real objective to take back the White House while the middle class still exists? The infighting and Ralph Nader could mean another 4 years of a Republican downhill slide.

    March 6, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  408. Bryan

    Both Clinton and Obama are fantastic candidates with their own unique strengths. Pointing out their strengths should not be considered "attacking" or "negative campaigning." We shouldn't let the media dictate the narrative and miscast a substantive discussion as "going negative."

    March 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  409. Sandra from Chicago

    No, I do not believe Senator Barack Obama needs to go negative in his campaign. It would be helpful and I believe adequate, if he aggressively illuminates his opponent's campaign and platform in order to give pause for voters to examine the claims, actions and words of the other side...no personal attacks – just the facts, ma'am!

    March 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  410. Will

    I don't think Obama is going negative. He is just pushing back on the Clinton's attacks on him and his leadership ability by highlighting legitimate issues in his rival that he feel the people should be aware of. This is the same thing Hillary just did with Obama but his not in some emotional tirade. One day happy to be running with the candidate, next day mad as hell that he is telling truths about your political record, then the next day somber. Is this a televised bipolar episode? Nonetheless, I understand why she did it and it worked.

    I believe a candidate is going negative when an opponents stance on issues are sooo twisted that it attempts to generate a specific emotion from the electorate and then tries to ease the emotions by saying the other candidate can resolve those issues. Thats when I am turned off from listening. Some people don't fall for the political attacks and just want to hear the facts and see the truth. No matter what I am still Obama fan. Let's see what the power of youthful enthusiasm, hope, and sound judgement with the support of highly experienced individuals in their respected fields can do to transform and reinvigorate this great country.

    March 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  411. Zia I.

    Obama going "Negative" is not so negative at all. It has an aura of 'positivity 'surrounding it. I mean, telling others that she is the most secretive of politicians, how bad is that? It is far more positive then saying "As far as I know, he is not a muslim" or "I believe him when he tells that he is not a muslim". I don't think he can get as dirty as Clinton's ever.

    March 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  412. Joyce

    Senator Obama doesn't have to go negative to win but he does need to do some internal clean up first. The adviser who spoke with the Canadian officials should be terminated, his actions and words are inexcusable. Senator Obama needs to come out strong with his message on how he plans to bring a comprehensive and doable change to this nation. Expound in detail on what he will do to give medical coverage to the people in such a way that every lay person can understand what this will entail. Talk in detail about how he will secure our borders without giving amnestys to the illegal persons that are already here, how he will help bring about change to our economy, our dependency on foreign oil when North America is rich in oil itself, what can be done to help our housing market without further putting America in debt, making education affordable, and bring jobs to the people with a pay which will reflect not only the work they do but the inflation and cost of living here in America.

    These are the things I want to hear spoken about in greater detail, not how much money each candidate has raised, not some fictional experience about what makes you a better candidate, not who gets the most bad press, but the issues of life that affects every person in America. As president what these candidates are complaining about being bad press will seem minute and probably welcomed once they are elected into office. If you hide in so sensitive now how do you think you will hold up as president. You will not be able to hide behind your gender or race, nor your spouses, the buck will start and stop with you. The White House is no place for weaklings or cry babies, someone needs pull up their boot laces and march on to victory like Senator McCain.

    Stockbridge, GA

    March 6, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  413. christy burkert

    I'm a republican voting for Obama because he's been running a positive campaign (among other things of course). But if he resorted to getting nasty like "Slick Hilly" I probably wouldn't feel the same. I love that he is something "different". I really believe that this is what makes him so likable. He doesn't have a temper and make rash statements just to get a slap in. I don't vote for someone just on the impression i get from them, but there is something to be said for just "feeling" like someone is a good person. I think people underestimate the importance of being a little more dignified.

    March 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  414. dana philips

    It is not a matter of going negative, but a matter of sharply pointing out the differences in policies, tactics, tone and history. If for example HRC claims 35 years of experience, pointing out that being 1st lady is hardly exective experience, making a speech in China related to women's rights , citing Northern Ireland visits during their peace process (when Senator Mitchell was the one directly involved) is not experience in Foregin affairs.
    Is it negative to ask for tax records, I do not believe so.

    March 6, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  415. John Adams

    It is not necessary for Barak Obama to get negative, nor is it wise. Neither he or Hilary should do so. If they are careful, while they are being nasty to each other, the Republicans are busy trying to get McCain elected which would be another disaster for our country.

    Perhaps, since Barak and Hilary are so close in votes, it would be very beneficial for them to make a deal and run together as a team. They both have very good stuff to bring to this election and our country.

    March 6, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  416. Jean

    No, he does not need to go negative. He has you Jack. You can do it for him. Isn't it what you've been doing in the past few weeks? You are pretty good at that.

    March 6, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  417. Ella

    I 'was' looking towards Obama, just because he offered hope. But I am beginning to think I prefer Clinton because she is already tested in DC. Obama has already gone somewhat negative, which sorta was a dissappointment to me... I will vomit if I hear one more TAX RETURN or NAFTA from Obama. I need to hear more about issues. Jack I need this because George Bush has derailed the country and I need someone who can start fixing from day one. Not someone who will start testing their hopes and then a year or 2 later we realize that hope is not easy to accomplish. DC is a wild deadly shark, you have to know how to tame or catch it or it will eat you. I 'changed' from hope to 'experience' 2 weeks ago and it truly feels right. Dreams are good.. but not all come true!

    March 6, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  418. kevin nipal

    why are some american people are voting for john mcain when ther braging about how president bush destroy this country and john mcain is a next bush

    March 6, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  419. William Driscoll

    He needs to continue what he has done throughout this primary cycle reframe the debate. Instead of going "negative" he needs to congratulate Hilary on her wins in Ohio and Texas while simultaneously pointing out that he closed a 20% gap. The problem now with the Obama campaign is that he is allowing her to claim these victories as comebacks. These states were always considered Clinton states and her margin of victory suggests that Obama was surging despite the negativity of the Clinton campaign. In other words highlight her negativity, his success and appear like he is congratulating her in the same breath.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  420. rosanne cohn

    Obama needs to be smart enough to ask some tough questions about her (like what precisely have you done that qualifies you to make the presidential decisions?) with sounding like he's bashing...........I agree that most people like him because - to date - he's been able to NOT sound like the typical politicians. If he switches.....he'll be in trouble with his "base."

    March 6, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  421. Cedric, Memphis TN

    Yes, he should. I think Obama should strike first and let her counter. Then he should counter that, then let her counter again. The he should counter that. This way he can attempt to break her bank. He has more money and should begin to use it. For cry out loud, Hillary doesn't even were dresses. She is a true feminish. Especially when she added the Rodham in between her and Bill.

    Bill & Hillary RODHAM Clinton
    The Rodham splits them

    March 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  422. Grace

    I feel like Obama is becoming dissapointed in the America people. I feel as though he thought if he kept a positive outlook about the changes that need to happen in this country that it would be enough. Apparently Americans are hungry for drama though and they'd rather see Obama duke it out with Hillary than hear what he's going to do for the United States and the world.

    That's pathetic.

    That being said; I don't think he should HAVE to become negative, but if negativity is what people respond to and it gets him into the Whitehouse so he can turn things around and make the neccessary changes, than so be it.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  423. richard

    He can zero in more on apects of her questionable profesional background without taking the low road which she has chosen to do. She has been shamefull in her mocking of " the dream" of hope and "empowerment".... which is written into the mind of americans. His charges should be backed up by fact not inuendo, relevance not irrelevance and truth not lies or gossip.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  424. Pat Train Gage

    Barack only needs to show pictures of Michelle standing by his side at the stump as a contrast to the Bill-less Hillary. The byline could read...With a House United the Cheese doesn't need to stand alone!

    March 6, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  425. J in Virginia

    There is nothing negative to say about Hillary that hasn't already been said, if there was Obama would've said it by now.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  426. democraticjack

    Obama doesn't have to go negative as long as he has surrogates like you Jack, and the entire talking head staff over at MSNBC and the Huffington Post bloggers doing it for him.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  427. wayannas10

    Go negative, I think he has exhausted all the negativity he can find. He is a good speaker and can captivate a crowd but, I don't wan't him running my country, he isn't ready yet. He can't go negative anyway, he has made himself Mr. honorable. If he goes negative he shoots himself in the foot. Can't do it, bad idea.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  428. Peach

    Go negative? Obama's support for the decision to toss out votes from two states that did not trot into his "win" column is as NEGATIVE as it can get, and as low.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  429. Tina

    He won't have to go negative, he just will have to point out that Clinton's camp made that call to Canada she accuses him of.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  430. Clark

    He will probably have to go negative to win, but the American people wil be the losers. He has to realize that nice guys who are inspiring just do not get to be president. If this goes to the convention, the nominee will be chosen by old school politicians, and nothing will change. I think Obama is the most inspiring candidate since Bobby Kennedy, and I would hate to see him have to surrender any of that message because I think we are all yearning for a fundamental change in politics.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  431. Josh-Vermont


    CNN is just waiting for Obama to go negative so he can be crushed by "the best political team". Why doesn't that team start with analyzing HRC 35 years of experience and ask this question: IN WHAT?
    Can "The situation room" take a fair look at the situation this country is now facing?
    If Obama goes negative that is all we will hear on your network...for days!

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  432. Rob Grovenor

    It would be very refreshing if Obama doesn't go negative. As a thirty year old Canadian, all I have know in any politcal campaign either here or in the States have been candidates negative ads at each other. For once, can we see a candidate that takes a postitive approach that promotes his/her position and leadership. Not the negative aspects of their opponent. After it's all said and done we end up having to choose the lesser of two evils....not better of two greats.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  433. Kupaji Jaliwa

    How come CNN is not reporting about NAFTA and the Canadian Connection. I just read on MSNBC the connections with Canada was not Obama, but Clinton. You should go to MSNBC to read it for yourself.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  434. Navid Razeghi

    At first please forgive me in order to my English is very weak. my friend American I am Iranian but I am detest from our government and all officials. friends we modern people Middle East are hate from subjetivity and behaviour tribal and fanatic. Friends Do you think that elect Hillary clinton is just like countries third world for example Pakistan. It is very bad greasest and strongest country world that wife former president to be president surely because had been wife's former president. Good Luck.
    Really I am sorry for my English very very weak. I hope could be my point of view rather to state.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  435. David Mattix

    Right on Jack!!

    Of all the Pundits on TV, your perception of the race to be the Democratic Nominee is the most non-partisan and well grounded of all. I love how you don't pull punches!

    I don't think Obama needs to get down and dirty like the Clinton's. I love how Hillary is whining about Obama being dirty just because he is asking for her tax returns and papers from her time as First Lady. You won't find dirtier politicians than the Clinton's. They will do whatever it takes to grab the power.

    I can guarantee, if you started looking into why Michigan and Florida are whining about their delegates not being seated, that you will find the Clinton campaign behind it. The facts are that those states were told there would be penalties if they held their primaries early and all the candidates signed off on it. If the people of Florida and Michigan want to hold someone responsible, then they should be looking at the people who signed off on holding the primaries early, not the DNC. THEY WERE FORWARNED!!!!!!!

    Keep up the great work

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  436. jeff minnesota

    If Our party can't get it together Obama might go independent,he already raise's more money than McCain and Hillary put together,all he would have to do do is put general powell as vice president.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  437. Martha Ann, IN

    The rules are being changed in the middle of the game so that Hillary may have a better chance of catching Barack Obama in pledged delegates. Florida and Michigan should be silenced in keeping with the rules. This is wrong what some Whites will do to keep a Black man out of the Whitehouse.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  438. Bill B

    This is Obama's test. It should have been obvious to seasoned campaigners that Hillary would throw the kitchen sink at him. Clintons don't like to lose and will do whatever they have to when they need more votes. If Obama wants to be our president and take on hostile world leaders, then he needs to show me that he has the ability to handle the Clintons. If that means throwing a few elbows, then so be it.

    March 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  439. Diane

    No! No! No! No! No!

    I am so sick of negative ads. And it looks so bad! Attack McCain, not each other. We need to be united! How can Hillary and Obama attacking each other be good for the Party? Or the country?

    March 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm |