Obama Targets Clinton on the Economy

Jan 18, 2008 5:44pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports:  Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill., told a Reno crowd that the economy is deteriorating rapidly, and criticized his main opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., alleging a change in her economic stimulus package.

Obama pinpointed his criticism on Clinton’s recent addition of the tax rebate within her economic plan, an inclusion revealed just yesterday. Clinton has always left the door open for an inclusion of such a rebate within her plan, but Obama is capitalizing on this as a sticking point, because he’s had a rebate plan in his economic package from the start.

"Senator Clinton – she released her own stimulus package and it didn’t have these, this tax relief… she thought that that could wait until things got worse. And we were criticized by some in their camp, saying, ‘Well, that’s not the right way to go, we need to have this different approach.’" Obama told a Reno crowd, "Five days after she released her plan, she said, ‘Well, ya know what we need is a tax rebate.’ Because now, apparently, she agrees with me. She’s got the same approach that we do."

Obama painted Clinton’s addition of the tax rebate, not only as following his lead, but as evidence that she is changing her positions for the politics of the moment, "Senator Clinton has said she is ready to lead from day one, but it’s important on day one to get it right, whether you’re talking about war or you’re talking about economic proposals… I’ve been less worried about making political points on these things, but getting them right."

Obama brought up more examples, sighting Clinton’s criticism of his answer from Tuesday’s debate on his greatest weakness. Obama joked that if he had answered the question like Clinton or Edwards he’d say his greatest weakens was helping old women across the street. "I’m sorry, I thought when you said what’s your biggest weakness you meant what’s your biggest weakness… But this is what I mean. This is political speak. This is what you learn in Washington from all those years of experience. It’s funny except it’s sad, because it means that the American people are constantly having to sort out what do people really mean."

Obama concluded that these implications erodes confidence in politics, and implied that the recent back and forth between the two top candidates were because he’s done better than expected in the election so far.

"I was very popular when I was twenty points down. I was a good American, a wonderful inspiration – funny how politics works," Obama joked, "We find ourselves now in the middle of a fight that nobody expected was gonna be there. Everyone had written off my campaign in the summer, and here we are. I haven’t been thrown off the island yet."

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