Campaign Notebook

Girl in TV phone ad for Clinton is a big supporter of Obama

The Clinton ad aired in Texas before last week's vote. Casey Knowles, now 18, calls the ad fear-mongering, saying she prefers Barack Obama's message of looking forward. The Clinton ad aired in Texas before last week's vote. Casey Knowles, now 18, calls the ad fear-mongering, saying she prefers Barack Obama's message of looking forward. (YouTube)
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March 10, 2008

Casey Knowles didn't much like a recent campaign commercial for Hillary Clinton - even though she's in it as a sleeping 8-year-old.

After all, she's about to turn 18 and is a big supporter of Barack Obama.

"What I don't like about the ad is its fear-mongering," Knowles told ABC's "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" yesterday. "I think it's a cheap hit to take. I really prefer Obama's message of looking forward to a bright future."

The well-known Clinton ad aired in Texas before last week's vote and implied a lack of experience on Obama's part. It showed an exterior of a Colonial-style home and old stock footage of Knowles sleeping in bed. A narrator describes a phone ringing in the White House: "It's 3 a.m., and your children are safely asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"

Clinton won the Texas primary by 51 to 47 percent.

Knowles said she didn't see the ad until Jon Stewart lampooned it Thursday on "The Daily Show." Her brother noticed it was she.

The file footage was originally shot for a railroad company advertisement, and the Clinton campaign bought it from Getty Images.

Knowles, a high school senior at Bonney Lake, Wash., turns 18 next month. She has been campaigning for Obama and attended his rally at Seattle's KeyArena on Feb. 8. Her mother, Pam, told The News Tribune of Tacoma that Casey cried and trembled after shaking the candidate's hand.


Dean says mail-in vote could work in Mich., Fla.
Some Democratic leaders think the Postal Service might be the best way to give Florida's Democrats a voice in picking a presidential nominee.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida and Michigan of all their convention delegates - a combined 313 - for holding their primaries too early. Hillary Clinton won both states, but no delegates. Barack Obama did not appear on Michigan's ballot.

Now officials from both states are trying to figure out how best to resolve the issue before the national convention in August.

DNC chairman Howard Dean said yesterday that a mail-in primary would be a good idea. "Every voter gets a ballot in the mail," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "It's comprehensive, you get to vote if you're in Iraq or in a nursing home."

Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, also supports the mail solution, comparing it to an absentee ballot process. He and Dean said they hope the state Democratic committee will pay for it.


Clinton-Obama fight puts McCain out of the spotlight
John McCain sees one downside to having clinched the Republican presidential nomination: There's less attention focused on him than on the volatile contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

"It makes me have to work harder, obviously, to make sure that we maintain the visibility," McCain said.

McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination Tuesday with victories in Ohio and Texas, but the Democratic primaries there put Clinton back into contention after 11 straight losses to Obama.

Their contest, and the attention it commands, could last for months.

McCain must transition from smaller, state-by-state primary campaigns to a national campaign that in some ways is less suited to his style of campaigning.

The senator from Arizona thrives in the smaller settings of primary campaign events where he can make eye contact and talk directly with voters.

A general election calls for massive rallies with crowds in the thousands, a setting that is Obama's forte but is less fitting for McCain, a slightly monotone speaker with a softer voice.


Two senators will contend for presidency for 1st time
Whoever wins in November, one thing seems certain: This will be the first presidential election in the nation's history pitting two sitting US senators against each other.

Americans have not been very receptive to legislators becoming the nation's chief executive. Only two sitting senators - John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Warren G. Harding in 1920 - got to the White House.

And neither of them completed one term, said Robert Schmuhl, an American Studies professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Not counting the current contest, in the 48 years since Kennedy, 40 senators have sought the presidency - and 40 didn't get it, Schmuhl found.

Four of the last five presidents have been governors.


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