ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger Reports: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., today launched one of his most vigorous attacks yet against rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Obama, who has made his 2002 opposition to the war a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, was asked this morning on MSNBC about comments made last night by former President Clinton, in which he said that Sens. Clinton and Obama have had similar voting records on the war.
"I suppose that’s true if you leave out the fact that she authorized it, and supported it, and I said it was a bad idea," said Obama. "That’s a fairly major difference."
While Obama has sought to draw this contrast with Clinton throughout the campaign, he has previously avoided making such a pointed criticism of his rival.
When asked a similar question about his voting record last fall, by the New Yorker magazine, Obama admitted that "it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate."
"I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq," Obama said at the time, "although I’m always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence."
But this morning, Obama attacked Clinton head-on for her initial support of the war, and even accused her of trying to "revise history" on the vote.
"I think very highly of Sen. Clinton, I think she’s a wonderful senator from New York, and I think highly of Bill Clinton, but I think it is fair to say that we had a fundamentally different opinion on the wisdom of this war," said Obama. "I don’t think we can revise history when it comes to that."
When asked to respond, the Clinton campaign offered a one-sentence response, saying Clinton is "focused on uniting Democrats and ending the war."
In fact, Obama’s Senate voting record on Iraq is nearly identical to Clinton’s. Over the two years Obama has been in the Senate, the only Iraq-related vote on which they differed was the confirmation earlier this year of General George Casey to be Chief of Staff of the Army, which Obama voted for and Clinton voted against. Just last week, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama conceded that his position on the war is not the "polar opposite" of Clinton’s.