Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continued to trade barbs this week in the wake of last Thursday’s heated Democratic debate in Las Vegas. During a campaign stop in Iowa Tuesday, Clinton said Obama’s years living abroad during his childhood did not prepare him to be president. The Obama campaign immediately fired back.
“Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have spent time in the White House and traveled to many countries as well,” spokesman Bill Burton told the New York Times. “But along with Hillary Clinton, they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation.”
“Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed,” Novak wrote.
Obama quickly responded.
“[Clinton] of all people, having complained so often about ‘the politics of personal destruction,’ should move quickly to either stand by or renounce these tactics,” he said in a statement..
The Clinton campaign did later say it did not have any scandalous information, but that did not stop the rebukes from Obama’s team.
“This is exactly the kind of smear politics, Democrats need to fight back on, regardless of the source or the party,” campaign manager David Plouffe said. “Democrats should know that when Barack Obama is their nominee, he will not allow the ‘Swift boat’ politics of fear and diversion to prevail in this campaign.”
“This is the ‘Guns of August’ effect, a reference to World War I, which became inevitable, according to historian Barbara Tuchman, not because the war made any sense but because both sides were so well-prepared for war that the preparation took on a life of its own,” Simon writes.
The attacks also came as a new Washington Post-ABC News poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers showed Obama in a statistical dead heat with Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards. Obama had 30 percent of the support, compared to Clinton’s 26 percent and Edwards’ 22 percent.
“Iowa Democrats are tilting toward change, and Obama appears to be benefiting from it,” write Anne Kornblut and Jon Cohen of the Washington Post. “Fifty-five percent of those surveyed reported that a ‘new direction and new ideas’ are their top priority, compared with 33 percent who favored ‘strength and experience.’ That is a shift from July, when 49 percent sought change and 39 percent experience.”
Obama also had a new ad up in the Hawkeye state, called “Need:”
Back on the campaign trail, Obama spent Tuesday in New Hampshire rolling out his education platform at Manchester Central High School.
“I want to lead a new era of mutual responsibility in education – one where we all come together for the sake of our children’s success; an era where each of us does our part to make that success a reality — parents and teachers; leaders in Washington and citizens all across America,” Obama said.
“The $18 billion plan stressed the importance of early childhood education and featured a range of initiatives, including encouraging math and science education and expanding summer learning opportunities,” writes Shira Schoenberg of the Concord Monitor. “Obama also criticized the federal No Child Left Behind act, saying it ‘has done more to stigmatize and demoralize our students and teachers in struggling schools than it has to marshal the talent and the determination and the resources to turn them around.’”
Obama will be spending Thanksgiving with his family in Chicago before heading back to Iowa for a weekend of campaign events.