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Democrats in a Do-Si-Do Over Negative Campaigning

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Monday, March 24, 2008

PARSING BILL CLINTON'S WORDS

Democrats in a Do-Si-Do Over Negative Campaigning

Hillary Clinton's campaign continued its pushback yesterday against an accusation that Bill Clinton questioned Barack Obama's patriotism last week.

In a "must-read" e-mail sent Easter morning, the Clinton campaign forwarded a blog posting by National Review columnist Kathleen Parker, who called "nonsense" the idea that the former president attacked Obama at a campaign event in Charlotte. Later yesterday, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D), a Clinton supporter, accused the Obama campaign of a double standard -- decrying negativity in politics and then going after the Clinton team at the drop of a hat.

The contretemps began Friday, when Bill Clinton said: "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

The Obama campaign immediately pounced on the remark, and retired Air Force Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, an Obama adviser, described it as reminiscent of McCarthyism. That drew indignation from the Clinton campaign.

Yesterday, even New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), a newly declared Obama backer, said he did not think the former president had accused Obama of being unpatriotic.

"I don't believe President Clinton was implying that," Richardson said, appearing along with Rendell on "Fox News Sunday." But Richardson added that "the campaign has gotten too negative -- too many personal attacks, too much negativity that is not resounding with the public."

-- Anne E. Kornblut

LESS GREEN, AND LESS GREEN

Clinton's Carbon Offsets Forced to the Back Burner

On Earth Day last year, Hillary Clinton announced that her campaign was becoming carbon-neutral.


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