Clinton Sharpens Rhetoric Against Rivals

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 31, 2007 2:44pm

ABC News’ Eloise Harper Report: After three days of speaking in somber and serious tones, Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., sharpened her rhetoric against her Democratic rivals today in Keokuk, Iowa.

The Senator addressed the special interest fight her opponents have been having for days, and Clinton specifically took on former Senator John Edwards, D-N.C., more strongly than she has in the past.

Speaking about solving the problem of the influence special interests have in politics, Clinton delivered a veiled swipe at Edwards, without naming him.

"Instead of, like, generating a lot of heat and rolling your hands and jumping up and down, lets just sit down and figure out how we are going to beat them," Clinton said, "it’s something you don’t have to do by yelling and screaming. Save your energy, get the job done. Figure out how you are going to make it happen."

Clinton made the argument that she is the candidate who can actually take on the special interests. "There’s a lot of talk in this campaign about special interests," Clinton said, "and you know these are great applause lines and speeches, and people get really excited because we all know that the power has shifted way too much to the wealthy and the well-connected and we’ve got to bring that power back. But I submit to you that there isn’t anybody running who has taken on more special interests."

Clinton went after Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with a subtle dig, while touting her electability. "I am not asking you to take me on faith," she said.

Clinton also addressed the back-and-forth between Obama and Edwards that Clinton has abstained from in these past weeks. "My two leading opponents are spending a lot of time right now kind of you know talking about each other," she said, "I’m going to keep talking about the people of Iowa."

Reacting to Clinton, Chris Kofinis, spokesperson for former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., issued this statement:

"The only people who think this is screaming are Washington insiders who see someone coming to take their power away. To middle class Americans, it is music to their ears, someone willing to tell the truth and stand up for them after decades of double talk, broken promises, capitulation, and manipulation. But then again, if Senator Clinton really wants to talk about taking on the special interests, she may want to first explain to voters why she has taken more money from the defense industry than even the Republican presidential candidates, and has taken more money than any other Democrat from special interests, like the health care industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the oil and gas industry, that are helping destroy the middle class."

To read more from the campaign trail — from Iowa to the ABC News/Facebook/WMUR debates to New Hampshire and beyond — check out The Note every day.

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