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After Nevada Caucuses, Charges of Foul Play

Barack Obama supporters cheer before the start of a caucus at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. (AP).

By Shailagh Murray
Apparently the adage "whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" doesn't apply to politics.

Tensions between the Obama and Clinton campaigns escalated today when officials traded charges about conduct on the ground during the Nevada caucuses Saturday.

Aides for Sen. Barack Obama, who lost the first-in-the-West contest, announced they would ask the state Democratic Party to review reports that Clinton caucus organizers had sought to block entry to certain sites a half hour before the official deadline, as outlined in a Clinton campaign caucus manual.

The Clinton campaign fired back that it was considering its own legal options in response to a barrage of voter intimidation complaints about Obama tactics.

Obama officials said they weren't contesting Clinton's victory and were seeking the review to prevent confusion in future caucuses. But Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer said the early closing times appeared to have had a "clear-cut disenfranchising effect."

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said the Obama campaign was peddling "false claims" and was "grasping at straws" to explain its loss.

Overall, the Obama campaign said it had fielded over 300 caucus-day complaints via a hotline set up for field staff. Wolfson said Clinton workers also logged hundreds of complaints.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 20, 2008; 6:56 PM ET
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