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Obama, Clinton Openly Spar at AFL-CIO Forum

Seven of the Democratic presidential candidates debated again Tuesday night in Chicago at the AFL-CIO-sponsored forum that turned into the most spirited meeting yet. The NewsHour reports on the debate's highlights and what they mean for the race to the White House.

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    Next, presidential politics played at a contact-sport venue. Margaret Warner has the highlights.


    Three days after courting liberal bloggers, seven of the Democratic presidential candidates met again last night on an outdoor stage to woo a more traditional constituency, some 17,000 union members.

    The forum, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, was intended to focus on issues dear to organized labor, like trade policy and health care. But the candidates were eager to resume their running arguments over foreign policy and the role of lobbyists. And the two leading in the national polls, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, came under repeated fire.

    Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd lit into Obama for saying last week that he'd take military action against al-Qaida figures hiding in Pakistan if Pakistan wouldn't.

    SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), Connecticut: Words mean things. We're got to very careful about language that's used in terms of the danger and harm it can do to our nation. I think it's highly responsible — or irresponsible of people who are running for the presidency and seek that office to suggest we may be willing unilaterally to invade a nation here that we're trying to get to be more cooperative with us in Afghanistan and elsewhere.


    Obama didn't back down.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me…

    … for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism. If we have actionable intelligence on al-Qaida operatives, including bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should. Now, I think that's just common sense.