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Obama Campaign Points Finger at Rush

Updated 9:22 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Obama campaign believes in the vast right-wing conspiracy.

The Illinois senator's chief political adviser David Axelrod noted to reporters just now that Republican crossovers accounted for about 10 percent of the Indiana primary electorate, and that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had performed well with the group.

"There were elements of the Republican Party, including Rush Limbaugh, Sen. Clinton's new ally, who were urging people to cross over and vote for her," said Axelrod, referring to the Limbaugh-led "Operation Chaos," a bid to disrupt Obama's path to the nomination and prolong a divisive primary battle. "She obviously was somewhat a beneficiary of that."

Chimed in Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, "Apparently he's got more than just a crush on her." Clinton had joked on Sunday that Limbaugh "always had a crush on me."

Earlier, before either North Carolina or Indiana were called, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton sent out the transcript of Limbaugh's Tuesday radio blast.

"I have ... been receiving field reports ... from people, commandos, operatives, reporting that they have followed orders and fulfilled their duty," Limbaugh crowed. "In fact, some of the people show up and they ask for a Democrat ballot, and the poll worker says, 'Why, what are you going to do?' He says, 'Operation Chaos,' and they just laugh."

So there you have it. It's not on Obama if the race continues, his aides imply -- it's Rush's fault.

Of course, Obama has carried Republicans in more states than Clinton has thus far, and has long pointed to this as evidence of his potential general election crossover appeal.

Weisman reported from Washington.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 6, 2008; 9:24 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primaries  
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