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Clinton, Obama Exchange Attacks on Campaign Tactics

Presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill. condemned each other's use of negative campaigning on the trail this weekend. Ohio voters received fliers attacking Clinton's trade and health plans, while a photo showing Obama in traditional Somali dress circulated the Internet.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next, charges and counter charges in the U.S. presidential campaign. NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman reports.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    At George Washington University this morning, during what her campaign billed as a major foreign policy speech, Hillary Clinton argued she was best qualified to be commander-in-chief, not Barack Obama, not John McCain.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: Senator McCain can't seem to budge from the Bush approach that insists on using military force when diplomacy is needed. He has said he wants to keep our troops in Iraq; it would be fine with him for 50 to 100 years.

    Senator Obama, meanwhile, represents another choice. He waivers from seeming to believe that mediation and meetings without preconditions can solve some of the world's most intractable problems to advocating rash, unilateral military action without cooperation from our allies in the most sensitive region of the world.

    Electing a president should not be an either/or proposition when it comes to national security. We need a president who knows how to deploy both the olive branch and the arrows.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Mrs. Clinton's tone was noticeably sharper in Cincinnati on Saturday, angrily reacting to some Obama campaign literature mailed to Ohio voters.

    One mailer points to Clinton's early support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which critics claim has siphoned thousands of jobs to Mexico. Another attacks her health care plan, charging it would penalize individuals who can't afford to buy insurance.

  • SEN. HILLARY CLINTON:

    Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook. This is wrong.

    And every Democrat should be outraged, because this is the kind of attack that not only undermines core Democratic values, but gives aid and comfort to the very special interests and their allies in the Republican Party who are against doing what we want to do for America.

    So shame on you, Barack Obama. It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That's what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics…

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