At Missouri Church, Clinton Talks of History
By Dan Balz
ST. LOUIS -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton started her campaign day in church Sunday morning, mixing Biblical references with talk of the history-making Democratic nomination contest and direct criticism of Republican front-runner Sen. John McCain.
After appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows, Clinton spoke from the pulpit of the Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. Referring to her competition with Sen. Barack Obama, she told the congregation that it was a "red letter moment" for America to have a contest in which the nominee will either be an African American or a woman.
"No matter what happens in this nominating contest, one of us will make history," she said. "That is a cause of great celebration."
Clinton avoided direct criticism of Obama, but was pointed about the effect of eight years of the Bush administration on the country. She described the Republican agenda as "an epidemic of indifference" to the problems of poor and middle-class Americans.
Warning that Republicans will wage a vigorous fight to retain the White House in November, she told the congregation, "I wish they would just stand up and say, 'We are so embarrassed. We're not going to run anyone.'"
Speaking of McCain, Clinton said, "I respect him and I respect his service to our country and his patriotism. But he has recently said it wouldn't bother him if we had troops in Iraq for 100 years. Well it would bother me. It would bother most Americans."
Clinton told the congregation there is no military solution in Iraq. "We have the best military in the world," she added. "It's time for them to come home."
At the back of the church, there were copies of the St. Louis American, an African-American newspaper, which carried a front-page endorsement of Obama under the headline, "Seizing the opportunity for a national evolution." On the editorial page was a cartoon pillorying Clinton for suggesting that it was Obama's campaign and not hers that had injected racial politics into the nomination battle.
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