Clinton Gets Emotional Over Mailers: 'Shame On You, Barack Obama'

Obama camp replies: "Everything in those mailers is completely accurate."


AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2008 — -- Sen. Hillary Clinton went on the offensive today during her campaign sweep through Ohio, vigorously scolding her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, over two mailings his campaign made that she said misrepresented her views and created a division within the Democratic Party.

Clinton appeared frustrated -- if not furious -- about two Obama campaign fliers; one on universal health care and one that misleadingly suggested she called NAFTA a "boon" to the economy, something she never said, though she has praised NAFTA in the past.

NAFTA is a hot-button issue for those in Ohio who have been Clinton's base -- union members, lower-income people and older voters.

"Shame on you, Barack Obama," she said in Cincinnati. "It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages and public. That's what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics and your behavior on this campaign."

Though some rumors have surfaced that Clinton might quietly be exploring an exit strategy in case she loses the key states of Ohio and Texas on March 4, she appeared ready to continue to fight.

"Enough of the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook," she said. "This is wrong, and every Democrat ought to be outraged."

The other Obama flier that upset Clinton resembled the insurance industry's iconic "Harry and Louise" ads that helped sink Clinton's health care plan in 1993.

The Obama flier falsely stated Clinton's current plan would force consumers to pay a penalty if they failed to buy health insurance. To date, Clinton has dodged the issue and never actually said what the penalty would be.

But Clinton lashed out at Obama: "Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal health care?" she asked rhetorically.

Clinton of course has been attacking Obama on the subject of health care for months, on the stump, during debates, on TV and in fliers, some of which also have been misleading.

In Columbus, Obama responded to her attack by speculating that Clinton's outrage was merely a new campaign tactic.

His fliers, he said "are accurate. Sen. Clinton, as part of the Clinton administration, supported NAFTA. In her book she called it one of the 'administration's successes.'"

As for the health care mailer, Obama said that Clinton "has been the one who has made this difference about mandates the centerpiece not just of the health care debate but practically her campaign. And what this mailer does is point out this difference that she herself surfaced and describes what the mandate that she's calling for would mean, which is that the government would force you to buy health care."

Clinton compared Obama's message of change to President Bush's message in 2000, even though her communications director has said, "One Democrat comparing another Democrat to George Bush" is "the worst kind of tactical political maneuvering."

The latest ABC News poll has Clinton with a seven-point lead in Ohio and the two essentially tied in Texas.

In Texas, Clinton's director of outreach in the Rio Grande Valley was recently spotted at an Obama rally. He told the Rio Grande Guardian newspaper he wasn't switching sides, "but it appears to be increasingly evident who's going to win."

ABC News' Greg McCown, Sunlen Miller, Eloise Harper, and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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