Obama Says No to Triangulation Politics

The Associated Press
Monday, October 15, 2007; 6:03 PM

MADISON, Wis. -- Barack Obama said Monday the nation has had enough of "triangulation and poll-driven politics," a reference to the presidency of Bill Clinton, the husband of his chief Democratic rival.

Addressing a convention center rally dominated by students, Obama said that he had spoken out against going to war in Iraq in 2002, even as advisers told him it would be a mistake to challenge a popular president, George W. Bush.

Then an Illinois state lawmaker, Obama said he did so because he did not want to "enter the United States Senate already having compromised on core principles."

"We've had enough of ... triangulation and poll-driven politics," he said. "That's not what we need right now."

Obama never mentioned Hillary Rodham Clinton by name. His reference to triangulation, however, refers to Bill Clinton's eight years as president when some advisers urged him to make policy decisions by splitting the difference on opposing views. The practice became known as "triangulation."

The remark drew a swift response from the Clinton campaign.

"Senator Obama spent the last week abandoning the politics of hope and attacking Senator Clinton. Looks like he's begun this week by attacking her husband," said campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee. "The fact is that most Americans believe that Bill Clinton was a good president who moved the country forward."

Obama, who entered the U.S. Senate in January 2005, promised his young supporters on Monday that he was the presidential candidate who could bring the most change to politics. He said he could reform health care, end the Iraq war and ease the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"I am confident in my ability to lead the country in this new direction," Obama said.

He addressed around 4,000 people at a rally, many of them students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students paid $15 for tickets to the fundraiser while adults paid $30.

Wisconsin, which holds its primary relatively late in the process on Feb. 19, hasn't received much attention from the presidential candidates. Republican Rudy Giuliani is to arrive in Milwaukee on Thursday for a fundraiser.

© 2007 The Associated Press