Nation/World

Clinton aims to fire up women with ‘red phone’ ad

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign unleashed a new television ad Friday designed to show that unlike her opponent, Barack Obama, she has the experience to “lead in a dangerous world.”

In the ad, a phone rings in the background as children sleep. An announcer says, “It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call, whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world.”

Heading into the final weekend before Tuesday’s crucial primary contests in Ohio and Texas, Clinton staffers hope the ad will galvanize female voters who made the margin of difference for the New York senator in New Hampshire in January, when polls showed her losing but female voters gave her a comeback.

Obama, campaigning among veterans in Houston, responded quickly. Criticizing the ad as the kind that “plays on people’s fears to scare up votes,” Obama said, “It won’t work this time. Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is what kind of judgment will you make when you answer?”

Clinton, he said, already flunked the “red phone” test when she voted to authorize the war in Iraq, and he promised that his opposition to the war typifies the “kind of judgment I’ll show when I answer that phone in the White House as president of the United States.”

The Texas Democratic Party, meanwhile, warned both Democratic campaigns not to launch legal action against the party for its bifurcated election, in which 126 delegates will be selected from the primary and 67 from a caucus Tuesday. The Clinton camp said earlier this week it was alarmed, calling the caucus rules confusing.

Clinton political director Guy Cecil said he had asked party officials to spell out the rules in memo form, but insisted Friday that he made “no veiled threats of any kind.”



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