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No Regrets From Obama

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and wife Michelle answer reporters' questions aboard the campaign plane, somewhere over Texas. (The Washington Post)

By Shailagh Murray
SAN ANTONIO -- Sen. Barack Obama was checking for bruises.

"They have run a pretty negative campaign over the last couple of weeks," the Illinois senator conceded of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a brief press conference on his campaign plane this afternoon. But he said he had no regrets about not returning fire with fire. Day after day, as Clinton questioned his toughness and candor, Obama brushed the furor aside, offering mild observations about her "tenacious" campaign style.

"I have said consistently that we do things differently," Obama said. "It's worked for us so far. And I'm not going to do things that I'm not comfortable in doing."

He could pay a price tonight. "There's no doubt that if you're being attacked every day, it creates a sense of turbulence," Obama said. Or maybe not. "Just remember that what we've been doing has worked," he added. "It's put us in a position now where I am confident that we can maintain a pledged delegate lead," all the way to the Democratic convention -- if it comes to that.

"So there's no reason why we would want to change our approach," Obama said.

He doesn't expect Clinton to change her approach, either. "I think she is going to push this as hard as she can," he said, to "deploy the kitchen-sink strategy and see if it works. Our job is to keep playing our game."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 4, 2008; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primaries , The Democrats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A Campaign for the Ages
Next: Ohio Elections Official Questions Obama Tactics


Get off the couch, throw out the beer cans, and go get a job!
What are you talking about!

Posted by: ednyo2000 | March 5, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Good Morning Hussein! To begin with, the more the GOP knocks the socks off you the better it is, not for McCain, Bush's present lacky, but the better it is for Hillary, and the Reps will go after you til hell turns over.

According to reports your statements are as phoney as a $3.00 bill. You contributed to the Iraq war and Tony has financed you with thousands and millions of $$$$$ This election campaigning of yours is like a 50cent Circus and you are the Main Clown -Star of the Show!!! You are for Free trade (you claim) but against NAFTA- you want the loyality of young people but voted toRAISE THEIR TUITIONS !

yOUR A FAKER AND A JOKER AND SO IS YOUR WIFE. nEVER MENTION YOUR mUSLIN AFFILIATIONS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, OR YOUR ADMIRATION FOR fARRAHKAN, aBOVE ALL, YOU NEVER COME CLEAN ABOUT YOUR white heritage, your mother and her parents. Go Home to your $992,000 cottage, and by the way how did a poor boy on a Senator's income get to buy such a humble dwelling. Tony and Oprah I suspect

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | March 5, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

It is a shame that, in the U.S.A., the politics of destruction still beats the politics of honesty and hope. If Obama continues to fight a different battle, he will likely lose.

Posted by: hhennein | March 5, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

This has been a very tame campaign so far.
If Obama thinks this has been tough, what is he going to do if he has to face the Republicans? Heaven forbid. I don't think he's up to it. Hillary looks incredibly resilient and vivacious, she has
endless amount of energy.

Posted by: psnell | March 5, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how republicans in Ohio and Texas are voting and how it will effect democratic results.

Posted by: hotpoet66 | March 4, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

rbduval: To what do you refer when you say "insanely dumb to come up with an allegation like that". If you mean about my mention of cocaine, then you must not have read Senator Obama's own first book where he admits to this. See Wash Post article:
"Effect of Obama's Candor Remains to Be Seen-
Senator Admitted Trying Cocaine in a Memoir Written 11 Years Ago" at:

The Republican's will make hay with this if Obama gets the nomination, and whatever else they can dig up. He is a blank page, relative to Senator Clinton, and they will fill it with whatever they can dig up.
I like both Democratic candidates, and Sen. Clinton has faults as a candidate, to be sure, but (and here is the key thing) we already know them all. Everything the Swift Boaters might come up with against Sen. Clinton will be old news to Americans, and have little effect. She has been well "vetted" through the Republican grinder, so I think it will be much harder to get at her than a new candidate.

Posted by: thurston | March 4, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I think it's strange that people say Obama is being handled with kid gloves. Hillary is doing everything in her power to attack him. He's just pretty good at defending himself. I agree that in the general election it will get even worse as no one has any expectations the republicans even need a pretense of truth in there attacks. What I don't understand is that since Obama isn't going after Hillary that much (mostly he just responds to her attacks) why aren't people afraid of what the rep. are going to do to Hillary. It seems like half they're party is built on attacking Clintons... They're going to be good at it. A hell of a lot rougher than Obama has been.

Posted by: daver4ever | March 4, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

There is a good article on what really happened with the Canadian memo (and even shows a scanned document of the actual memo) at this link.

After reading the article (which summarizes pretty objectively for a change what REALLY happened), it looks like that there have been (as usual) many distortions and half-truths reported and YES, distinctly to make Obama look bad, particularly by the Clinton campaign and Hillary's twisting of the truth. The story told by the media spins it to look like "Obama's aide contacted Canada to tell them not to pay attention to what was said in last week's debate and that Obama lied when confronted about it".

But it doesn't look like that's what really happened. Goolsbee is a professor at the University of Chicago and he met on FEBRUARY 9th (weeks prior to the Ohio debate) with a Canadian who came to see him in the U.S. about trade (but possibly to feel him out), knowing he was an advisor to Obama. Obama's response that he didn't know that Goolsbee had met with him seems plausible, since the meeting was three weeks ago in Chicago and he's been off campaigning.

The bottom line is that I trust Obama to tell the truth over Hillary Clinton. On his attacks against her about NAFTA, Obama specifically said in his argument about NAFTA was that she couldn't take credit for NAFTA when it was convenient and diss it when it wasn't convenient, which is not an unfair observation to point out. And since I see her twisting this story so much and using it to attack Obama's character, especially implying that words said by Goolsbee (which seem to be his opinions, not representing the campaign when they were spoken) is Obama's "wink/wink", this just makes me think less of her. I've been paying a lot of attention to this campaign and researching to find out the truth as much as possible, more so than at any other time in my life. No wonder people get so turned off by politics and feel so shut out. It takes a lot of digging to find out the truth and once distortions and half-truths are told over and over again,

Posted by: graciousinco | March 4, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama will attract people from both sides of the aisle and Republicans will continue to stay home.

Clinton will attract no one than the base of the democratic party and bring Republicans out of the woodwork to vote against her.

Why do you think Republicans are recycling Hillary's every attack?

If you think Republicans are not going to mention the Hsu case you are sadly mistaken.

In the meantime, every day Hillary goes negative she lowers her standing among democrats as well as hurt Obama's standing. Basically she's killing the party for her own gain.

Well, enjoy your night Hillary supporters. There's a big price to pay for this and the bill will be coming due soon.

Posted by: Alex3 | March 4, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"When Hillary released the 3am telephone ad...he described it as the politics of fears and immediately released his own exact video."

Because that's exactly what it is.

To say otherwise is disingenuous.

Posted by: Alex3 | March 4, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

To zukermand:
I'm not going to say that you must have smoked something bad to be that insanely dumb to come up with an allegation like that but I would say that those nerves you have reflect that shameless attitude your queen have had all along.
Typical HRC supporter or you just don't know how to read english.

Posted by: rbduval | March 4, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@thurston: "I have to agree that Clinton has treated Obama with kid gloves compared to what the Republicans will do."

And do you not think the reverse is true as well?

The Republicans have been expecting, even relishing, the prospect of running against Hillary in 2008 ever since 2001. If you don't know this, you don't know many Republicans.

Posted by: nodebris | March 4, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

There it is again. Obama trying to play the I'm "above the fray" and "not part of Washington" angle. When Hillary released the 3am telephone ad...he described it as the politics of fears and immediately released his own exact video. That surely seems like a counter attack to me and so I guess if he releases the same ad, it is no longer a politics of fear. He can't mislead people into thinking the Canadian and Rezko controversies are Hillary's doing. He and his campaign got themselves into that mess all by themselves. Obama has ran a great campaign and Hillary's campaign is improving but lets lay blame where it should be. I will vote for Obama if he is the nominee, but I will vote because he is the lesser of two evils, not because he was my first choice.


Posted by: edenz21 | March 4, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's not afraid to fight, because she's fighting for you!

Posted by: niksiz | March 4, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree that Clinton has treated Obama with kid gloves compared to what the Republicans will do. they will lock and load on him relentlessly, raising issues Senator Clinton wouldn't (e.g., cocaine) because she wants the votes of Senator Obama's supporters. The Republicans won't care, as their votes are all way right and center of Senator Obama's supporters.

Posted by: thurston | March 4, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Hillary is going to keep crying that she's not winning only because she's female? Many feminists are calling her out on this - the bottom line is, there are *other* reasons why Hillary has lost a 2:1 lead, like competence in running her campaign, voter memory of the previous Clinton years, likeability, character, consistency, unrealistic top-down policies, partisan rhetoric, and it goes on...

Posted by: b_wythoff | March 4, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse


BARACK OBAMA will be our nominee.

HRC is pathetic and what you will see and are starting to see is a number of cool headed democratic heavy weights cringing at the prospect of HRC's nasty 'kitchen sink' strategy. It is about to be shut down.

Posted by: dab23 | March 4, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The Rezko is a no-issue stuff. The NAFTA is a big issue!! but not for Obama only, it is big for both!

The problem is that because uncertainty on how hispanics would take it, they didnot gave specifics. The true seems to be that the Nafta reshaping it's going to be, as it should be, a delicate thing. Basically: Nafta can go almost as it is with the northern neighbor. Actually it may go even further into integration. But the true is that the southern neighbor is lagging in about everything that matters. In that context Obama and Clinton need to reassure that the deal is: Canada is in, Mexico good by.

For tonight I don't expect big things. The trend of latest polls suggest Clinton will take three out of 4 states and will gain momentum for the weeks and months to come, but she will end up trailing Obama at the final count and very likely Obama will go all the way to Pennsylvania Ave.

Posted by: JpAcosta | March 4, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I guarantee you this, if the Dems don't rebuke HRC over her "kitchen sink" strategy, THEY WILL LOSE. If HRC supporters think that she is going to inherit "the movement" after she steals this nomination? Mark my words, I can deal with McCain for four years because I know what I am getting with McCain...four years of more war and some major pocket-pinching for me and my family. But there is no way in hell I would vote for HRC. If you think this is "just words", ask "the movement." At this point, I figure Clinton supporters are one of three things...(1)old women who want a woman president before they die...(2)racists who don't have the courage to admit it...(3)abused voters who aren't tired of being lied to.

Posted by: floydknight | March 4, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons sold US bonds to China to boost our economy in the 90s and they are still being praised for the economic miracle.
What most Americans don't understand is the unequal balance of trade that the deal came alongside with.
Presently China doesn't want US bonds, and guess what is about to happen- - - - - - STUPID FOLKS ARE ABOUT TO ELECT ANOTHER CLINTON.

Wait and see the economic devastation. NAFTA was nothing comparing to what is coming.......

Posted by: ordgobaltc | March 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The whole tenor of this post and of Sen. Obama's comments is surreal. It was he who started the negative attacks in Philadelphia. He who belittled Sen. Clinton's work as First Lady, saying she did nothing but serve tea. He who put out the lying mailers saying she claimed NAFTA was a "boon" to America--weeks after the Connecticut newspaper advised the whole world, including the Obama campaign, that it had erroneously attributed that remark to Sen. Clinton. Is the lying about the meeting with the Canadian official about NAFTA Sen. Clinton's fault? Is the hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from Rezko Sen. Clinton's fault? Is the shady real estate deal with Rezko's wife Sen. Clinton's fault? And how is it wrong for Sen. Clinton to bring these facts up in a political campaign? C'mon, cut the BS and hold this phony accountable. If you won't, you can bet the Republicans will.

Posted by: jbrooks | March 4, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The tactics will backfire on the Clintons. The political ew! factor will overcome any support she shakes loose. The only one who benefits is McCain.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 4, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Accusations of lying and racism are extremely rare, as they should be. Sen Obama and his representatives deploy those smears on a daily basis in the most childish, taunting way. His willingness to employ right wing smears and campaign tactics is deeply disturbing.

Posted by: zukermand | March 4, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama may have a setback tonight, and I expect that he'll handle it with his usual dignity and grace. Jeff Greenfield has a fun article in today's Slate, "Voters Always Pick Bugs Bunny Over Daffy Duck." Bugs Bunny--Obama--is the cool, laid back candidate, while Clinton is the Daffy Duck Candidate--the overwrought, angry one. So I hope Obama just remains his elegant, suave self and rejects and denounces the smear and fear.

Posted by: Barbara914 | March 4, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama's integrity will be tested shortly:
The Tony Rezko trial has started and it is being headed up by Ken Starr's former Assistant. The next issue is going to be that he hasn't been honest about the NAFTA comments to the American People. The GOP is going to have a field day with this stuff.

Posted by: JEANNE4 | March 4, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama seems to be a person very comfortable in his skin. I hope his speech tonight is positive and not whiny. My guess is he will soldier on with grace and dignity... win or lose.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 4, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Canada playing U.S. politics?

How about this one:

"AP - The National Archives said Monday it expects to release Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedules as first lady later this month, but has asked a judge to delay the release of thousands of her telephone logs for one to two years."

Posted by: davidmwe | March 4, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What about the Canadian Memo? Is she right about that? Or was it another "kitchen sink strategy" from Clinton?
This is big stuff that can follow Obama to Pensylvania.

Posted by: samyaa | March 4, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Hoorah, hoorah, Mr Obama. You make me proud to support you. Integrity is such a rare trait amongst senior politicians it's almost shocking.

Posted by: jencm | March 4, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Obasama, SHE is possibly planning to be your RUNNING MATE! ;~)

Wait until you become "Open Season" after winning your Party's Nomination! :-)

LOL! You ain't seen nothin yet! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 4, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama, for what it is worth, has stayed steady, which helps explain these numbers in Texas and on the Internet;

Barack vs Hillary Analysis
The Home Stretch-

Posted by: davidmwe | March 4, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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