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Published: Sunday, 2/24/2008

Clinton accuses rival of sending out false flyers

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
Visibly angry, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton tells Barack Obama: 'Shame on you,' during a rally at a high school in Huber Heights, Ohio. Visibly angry, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton tells Barack Obama: 'Shame on you,' during a rally at a high school in Huber Heights, Ohio.
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CINCINNATI As both Democratic presidential candidates crisscrossed Ohio yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton accused her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, of dirty campaign tactics worthy of former Republican strategist Karl Rove.

Shame on you, Barack Obama, an angry Mrs. Clinton said between campaign rallies in Cincinnati and the Dayton area as she held up copies of two full-color mailings from the Obama campaign that a Cincinnati woman handed her yesterday morning.

The mailers tie the New York senator and former first lady to unpopular trade agreements approved by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and claim her universal health-care mandate would force participation by people who can t afford it.

I heard about these, but I thought they d stopped, because they re wrong, she later told a crowd of about 2,500 at a high school in the Dayton suburb of Huber Heights.

They re false and misleading, and they have been discredited, she said. I call on Senator Obama to quit sending out false, misleading, and discredited information. That is no way to run a campaign here in Ohio.

Both sides said they re eager to revisit the issue on Tuesday when the two candidates meet in Cleveland for their sole Ohio debate.

Polls have shown Mrs. Clinton holds a narrowing lead going into the March 4 primary election in what is considered to a must-win state for her campaign.

Everything in those mailers is completely accurate, unlike the discredited attacks from Hillary Clinton s negative campaign that have been rejected in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and across America, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. the facts are that Senator Clinton was a supporter of NAFTA and the China permanent trade treaties until this campaign began.

And she herself has said that under the Clinton health-care plan, she would consider going after the wages of Americans who don t purchase health insurance, whether they can afford it or not, he said.

The Clinton campaign accused the Obama camp of taking her words out of context and noted that her private-public plan to insure all Americans offers greater subsidies than Mr. Obama s and ties premiums to a percentage of income.

She accused him of playing into the hands of insurance and pharmaceutical companies by failing to make his own plan mandatory, leaving open the opportunity for the uninsured to continue seeking free care in emergency rooms at the long-term expense of those who do have insurance.

In her campaign speeches, Mrs. Clinton attempts to distance herself from the North American Free Trade Agreement, particularly in a blue-collar state such as Ohio that has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs.

Instead, she says the trade agreement has not been enforced as originally promised, and has called for a regular re-evalution of such agreements to see if they re working as designed.

I do have a plan not just to criticize NAFTA, but to change NAFTA, to improve NAFTA so that it works for Ohio and America, she told the Huber Heights crowd.

Mrs. Clinton used her morning rally before about 1,200 supporters at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and her afternoon her rally in Huber Heights to continue to pound home her message of experience versus speeches.

She invoked Mr. Obama s name several times, something she has rarely done in Ohio campaign appearances.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.



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