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Obama Seeks to Reverse the Question

By Shailagh Murray
WESTERVILLE, Ohio - Sen. Barack Obama shot down his rival's contention that his candidacy is built around his Iraq opposition and leveled a direct challenge to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's claim to lengthy foreign policy credentials.

Speaking this afternoon at a local high school, at the start of a packed town hall meeting, Obama was unusually blunt and emphatic, underscoring the intensity of these final campaign days before the big Texas and Ohio showdowns on Tuesday.

"Now in the last few days, Sen. Clinton goes running around telling people that the entire campaign, according to her, is only based on the fact that I gave a speech in opposition to the war in Iraq from the start," Obama said. "That that is the only basis of my campaign, and on the other hand she has, supposedly, all this vast foreign policy experience."

He continued, "I have to say that when it came to making the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, the decision to invade Iraq, Sen. Clinton got it wrong."

Obama noted that Clinton had cast her 2002 authorization vote without reading the 90-page classified National Intelligence Estimate, which raised serious enough concerns that former Sen. Bob Graham, then-chair of the Senate intelligence panel, cited the NIE as a reason he voted against the war.

"I don't know what all that experience got her, because I have the experience to know that...if the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says you should read this, this is why I voted against the war, then you should probably read it," said Obama.

"We're still waiting to hear Sen. Clinton tell us what precise foreign policy experience that she is claiming, that makes her prepared to answer that phone call at three in the morning," Obama said to deafening cheers, a reference to Clinton's "red phone" television ad, running until Tuesday in Texas.

By Post Editor  |  March 2, 2008; 5:59 PM ET
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