ABC News’ Eloise Harper and Sunlen Miller report: Sen. Barack Obama, speaking in Reading, Pa., said that John McCain would be better than President Bush, and Hillary Clinton used the line as an opening to attack both Obama and McCain.
"You have a real choice in this election. You know, either Democrat would be better than John McCain, but, and all three of us would be better than George Bush," Obama said. "What you have to ask yourself is who has the chance to actually really change things in a fundamental way? So that 10 years from now or 20 years from now you can look back say, ‘Boy, we really moved in a new direction and we’ve put the country on a better path.’"
Clinton pounced on the comments immediately in Johnstown, Pa.
"Sen. Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush. Now Sen. McCain is a real American patriot who has served our country with distinction. Sen. McCain would follow the same fatal policies that have been so wrong for our country the last seven years. Sen. McCain thinks its OK to keep our troops in Iraq for the next 100 years. Is that better than George Bush?"
But Clinton didn’t stop there. She continued the line of questioning.
"Sen. McCain will continue the failed economic policies of George Bush that have brought us deficit and increasing debt. Is that better than George Bush? Sen. McCain does not have a health care plan that will cover every American. In fact, we will have more and more uninsured Americans. Is that better than George Bush? Sen. McCain has no plans to end the housing foreclosure crisis or cut the cost of gas at the pump. Is that better than George Bush? We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain, and I will be that nominee," Clinton said.
This is the latest in the back and forth between the two candidates leading up to the Pennsylvania primary. Clinton and Obama have been trading barbs over a range of issues including health care and the oil companies.