LAS VEGAS, NV.— When third-party independent expenditure campaigns ran in Iowa to help John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama strongly denounced the spending.
Now third-party ads are running in Nevada that could be helpful to Obama-- by Unite Here, Obama’s first national union endorsement. Obama heads into the Saturday caucus vote with political muscle provided by the unions local, Culinary Local 226.
John Edwards is asking Obama to denounce the ads; so is Clinton’s team.
The Hispanic vote is seen as critical in the Saturday caucus voting. The Clinton camp has been pushing back against these Unite Here Spanish-language ads on Thursday and Friday, bringing out their top Hispanic backers and Clinton’s campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, who urged Obama to “condemn” the ads.
The ads are harsh, calling Clinton ‘‘shameless’’ and that she ‘‘does not respect our people.’’
An effort by a Clinton friendly union to shut down nine precinct caucuses in casinos on the famous Strip was also blasted in the ad, linking Clinton to the drive.
Clinton ally Maria Echaveste said the spot, “saying in Spanish that Hillary Clinton does not respect Latinos” is “so far from the truth it makes my mouth drop.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton was asked twice about the third-party ads in a conference call on Friday and if Obama would call for them to be pulled. Said Burton, “Sen. Obama has said that these campaigns, his and others should be run by the campaigns themselves, funded by the campaigns themselves.”
Burton said Obama “doesn’t want help from outside groups and doesn’t think outside groups should be helping other campaigns.”
Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said that statement stopped way short.
“In Iowa, Senator Obama and his campaign went out of his way to attack labor unions for independently promoting other candidates. But in Nevada, he’s looking the other way as they falsely attack his opponents. "That's wrong. Senator Obama shouldn't be saying one thing about independent groups in Iowa and another in Nevada.“While we clearly disagree with the attacks being made against us, we do respect the right of labor unions to participate in the process. Senator Obama apparently has no problem with groups running ads as long as they attack others.“While that’s audacious, it’s certainly not hopeful.”