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Clinton Compares Obama to Bush
At that same fundraiser, Clinton previewed her plan for victory, promising to attack Obama on "issues" including health care and saying: "We're going to emphasize more and more the experience gap." She also indicated that she plans to question the way Obama is conducting his campaign in light of his "new politics" rhetoric. Her aides spent much of the day accusing him of hypocrisy, noting that in Iowa, he criticized John Edwards for allowing independent groups to spend money on advertisements on his behalf, but that his campaign has not criticized labor groups that are now doing the same for him.
Clinton advisers privately acknowledge the challenge of attacking Obama without it reflecting negatively on their candidate, although she has sharpened her tone noticeably since a debate on Thursday, an event that was so mild that Clinton was forced to make clear that she was not conceding the race.
At George Washington University yesterday, she criticized her rival's statements that he would meet leaders of nations such as North Korea without preconditions and that he would consider attacking Pakistan if its leaders would not cooperate in fighting terrorism.
"He wavers from seeming to believe that mediation and meetings with preconditions solves the world's most intractable problems to advocating rash, unilateral military action," Clinton said.
Obama, who still trails Clinton in most polls in Ohio, spent the day there, laying out his plans to help seniors at a roundtable discussion before rallies in Dayton and Cincinnati. While his aides batted back Clinton's attacks, he looked forward to his possible general election opponent, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), but kept an eye on Clinton.
"Some people are telling you not to believe, because they say 'Those Republicans are going to be tough on Obama,' he told a crowd of more than 11,000 at the University of Cincinnati. "I don't mind having debates with John McCain. I admire, I revere John McCain's service to this country. . . . But he has embraced George Bush's economic policies and tax cuts for the rich, and he said we will stay in Iraq even if it takes 100 years. . . . I want to have that debate."
Staff writer Alec MacGillis contributed to this report.