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Clinton rips into Obama over campaign mailings

Associated Press
Published February 24, 2008


CINCINNATI - Hillary Rodham Clinton angrily accused her Democratic rival Saturday of deliberately misrepresenting her positions on NAFTA and health care in mailings to voters, adding, "Shame on you, Barack Obama."

Clutching two Obama campaign mailings in her hand, Clinton said, "Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook," referring to President Bush's former political adviser.

Obama rejected Clinton's complaints a short while later as a political ploy. "These are accurate," he said of the mailings.

"It makes me think there is something tactical about her getting so exercised this morning," Obama said in Columbus.

After losing 11 straight contests to Obama since Super Tuesday, the former first lady is banking on a strong showing in primaries in Ohio and Texas on March 4 to save her fading candidacy. The two presidential candidates will meet in a televised debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Clinton ripped into Obama much more directly and forcefully than she has in the past.

Her advisers have repeatedly criticized the Obama campaign's health care mailing, which says her plan for universal coverage would "force" everyone to purchase insurance even if they can't afford it. Her plan requires that everyone be covered, but offers tax credits and subsidies to make insurance more affordable. Obama's plan does not include the so-called individual mandate for adults, but it does require parents to buy health insurance for children.

The second mailing, on the North American Free Trade Agreement, quotes a 2006 Newsday article suggesting Clinton believed the agreement had been a "boon" to the economy. NAFTA and other trade agreements are extremely unpopular in Ohio.

Clinton said Newsday had corrected the record about her views on the agreement. Newsday editors stopped short of a correction last week but said that "Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading."

Information from the New York Times was used in this report.