Illinois Sen. Barack Obama this week turned up the heat on his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Obama first announced he was going to be more aggressive in a Sunday interview with the New York Times.
“Now’s the time for us to make these distinctions clear,” Obama told the Times’ Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny. “But what I will continue to resist is the traditional perspective that we should be ginning up fights or trying to knee-cap the front-runner, because I don’t think that is what the country is looking for either.”
Obama tried to put his new strategy into effect Tuesday night at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia. His most pointed attack came when Clinton addressed a question about why her husband’s presidential library is not releasing many of her papers from when she was first lady.
“We have just gone through one of the most secretive administrations in our history,” Obama told the audience. “And not releasing, I think, these records at the same time, Hillary, that you’re making the claim that this is the basis for your experience, I think, is a problem.”
However, not everyone was convinced by Obama’s get-tough performance. David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register blogs that Obama’s “ho-hum performance is additional evidence he is having trouble balancing his image as a nice guy who wants to practice a different, consensus politics of hope with the more immediate and pragmatic need to slow Clinton’s momentum by cleaving some differences with her.”
Also this week, Obama released a new ad in Iowa, called “Wind,” about the need to tackle Social Security reform. It came on the heels of a campaign stop in the Hawkeye State where Obama accused Clinton of not being honest about her position.
On Thursday, Obama attended a rally in Durham, N.C., where he received the endorsement of Mayor Bill Bell.
“Bell’s decision might be viewed as a hometown letdown for Obama’s Democratic rival, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who lives in nearby Chapel Hill,” reported the Associated Press. “In 2004, Bell supported Edwards as a candidate for vice president, hosting an event at his home for Edwards and running mate John Kerry.”
On Friday, Obama is scheduled to attend several campaign events in South Carolina.The visit comes at a crucial time for the Illinois senator: a Winthrop University/ETV poll out Thursday shows him trailing Clinton by 10 points in the Palmetto State.