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Clinton, Obama Seize on Killing
"There's an issue of judgment," Axelrod said. Obama warned that the war could destabilize the region, "and that's come to pass. Certainly we see evidence of that even today."
Edwards said during an interview on Radio Iowa that he had spoken with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, encouraging him "to continue on the path to democratization, to allow international investigators to come in to determine what happened, what the facts were, so that there would be transparency and credibility about what actually occurred and also about the upcoming schedule of elections and that the important thing for America to do in this unstable environment is first of all focus on the tragedy that's occurred."
Obama has broadly built his foreign policy agenda around his opposition to invading Iraq -- citing that position as evidence of better judgment than his rivals -- and around the tone he promises to bring to international diplomacy.
Clinton has attempted to straddle a difficult foreign policy line throughout the race, voicing sharp opposition to an Iraq war she voted to authorize while taking a hard line toward other countries, including Iran.
Her campaign advisers pounced on Obama's and Axelrod's comments. "This is a time to be focused on the tragedy of the situation, its implications for the U.S. and the world, and to be concerned for the people of Pakistan and the country's stability. No one should be politicizing this situation with baseless allegations," Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said.
At her first event of the day, in Lawton, Clinton delivered straightforward comments on the events in Pakistan. Several hours later, she grew more personal, recalling Bhutto as an acquaintance. Then Clinton tied the political turmoil in Pakistan to the elections in the United States. "When you think about democracy, you're reminded that, in our country, we are the longest-lasting democracy in the world," she said. "One of the great events in our democracy happens a week from tonight, right here in Iowa. And if anything, the terrible events of today are a stark reminder of how important it is for as many Iowans as possible to be part of the journey."
Clinton then added her latest signature theme: "It's time to pick a president."
Obama predicted that the climate will get ugly in the days ahead, starting with a television ad scheduled to begin airing in Iowa on Friday attacking Obama's health-care plan, paid for by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a Clinton labor ally.
"In seven days, what was improbable has the chance to beat what Washington said was inevitable," Obama said. "And that's why in these last weeks, Washington is fighting back with everything it has -- with attack ads and insults; with distractions and dishonesty; with millions of dollars from outside groups and undisclosed donors to try and block our path."