ABC’s Sunlen Miller and David Wright Report: Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton exchanged barbs while campaigning in the same city in Ohio today.
Obama responded to Clinton’s criticisms that he’s offering only speeches to voters, a charge apparently aimed to bring into question Obama’s foreign policy experience.
First, Obama blamed the press for buying into the argument in order to keep the race interesting. Then, he pinpointed Clinton.
"Sen. Clinton has been running around telling people that our entire campaign, according to her, is only based on the fact that I gave a speech in opposition to the war in Iraq, and that is the only basis of my campaign, and she supposedly has amassed all this foreign policy experience," Obama told the crowd in Westerville, Ohio, "I have to say when it came to making the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, Sen. Clinton got it wrong."
He said Clinton’s failed to read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before voting to authorize war as evidence.
"I don’t know where all that experience got her, because I have enough experience to know that if you have a national intelligence estimate," he said, "the chairman of the senate intelligence committee says, ‘You should read this; that’s why I voted against the war,’ then you should probably read it."
Playing off a recent Clinton campaign ad that asks who Americans want picking up the phone at 3 a.m., Obama issued a challenge of sorts: "Besides the decision to invade Iraq, we’re still waiting to hear, Sen. Clinton, what precise foreign policy experience she’s claiming to answer the phone at 3 in the morning."
Obama ended his remarks with a slightly new tone: "This has been a long contest on the Democratic side, and we’ve had strong candidates throughout. Sen. Clinton is a fine candidate. And you know I tried as much as possible to spend my campaign talking not about the flaws of the other candidates but why I am running."
The event in Weterville is Obama’s last Ohio event before the March 4 primary. He will spend the next two days campaigning throughout Texas.