The Clinton campaign is complaining that by allowing viewers in all states to see the spots, the national buy violates a pledge made by each Democratic candidate not to compete in Florida. That state ignored a Democratic Party task force request and moved its primary before Feb. 1, prompting the Democratic National Committee to say the Florida primary wouldn't count toward delegates. Each of the major candidates subsequently pledged not to compete for votes in the state's primary.
In a statement today, the Clinton campaign called the Obama spot a "flagrant disregard" of that pledge.
"There is no question that these ads are a clear and blatant violation of the early-state pledge that Sen. Obama and the other leading Democratic candidates signed last year," said the Clinton campaign statement. "The early-state pledge was crystal clear in its prohibition against any kind of campaign activity (outside of fundraising) in states that do not adhere to the DNC calendar. There is no ambiguity. Among the list of prohibited activities are 'electronic advertising that reaches a significant percentage of the voters in the aforementioned state.'"
"Both national cable networks told us it would be impossible for us to run advertising nationally that excluded only Florida. For that reason we consulted with the South Carolina Democratic Party Chair, Carol Fowler, who told us unequivocally she did not consider this to be in violation of pledge made to the early states," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
The 60-second Obama ads are similar to ads the campaign has run in primary states.
Sen. Obama's is the first national ad of the Democrats. Rudolph Giuliani's campaign has run two national broadcast spots during "Fox News Sunday."