Obama and Clinton take battle to Wisconsin

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By John Whitesides and Caren Bohan
Reuters
Saturday, February 16, 2008; 10:47 PM

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton traded fresh attacks and touted their economic leadership on Saturday as they took their Democratic presidential duel to Wisconsin.

Clinton made her first campaign appearance in Wisconsin and promptly announced she would cut her state campaign schedule by a full day and leave on Monday, raising questions about her confidence in her chances in Tuesday's primary.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has been in the state and her daughter, Chelsea, will stay on to campaign.

"We're going to be here through Monday, and given the press of all the events that are going on -- Chelsea will be back in the state, Bill obviously was here. We have great surrogates," Clinton told reporters on a stop at a bratwurst restaurant in Kenosha.

Obama, a first-term Illinois senator, has beaten Clinton in the last eight contests and gained the upper hand in their battle to become their party's White House nominee in November's election.

Obama has spent four days in Wisconsin since his last round of victories on Tuesday and he has a slight lead in state opinion polls. Clinton has focused on March 4 votes in Ohio and Texas, counting on victories there to revive her hopes.

Clinton kept up her criticism of Obama for refusing to debate her before the Wisconsin vote. She aired two ads earlier in the week hitting him on the issue.

"There are real differences here that we deserve to explore and the people of Wisconsin deserve to have answers to their questions," the New York senator said.

Obama launched his own advertisement responding to the attacks. The two are scheduled to debate on Thursday in Texas, and the week after that in Ohio.

"After 18 debates, with two more coming, Hillary says Barack Obama is ducking debates? It's the same old politics," an announcer says in Obama's new ad.

Obama rejected her criticism that he is all talk and no action, and lacks her substance and experience.

"The question is not who has got the policies," Obama said at a rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. "The question is who can get them done, who can bring people together."


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