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Clinton Invokes '90s

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Framed by the neon green lights of the Mayflower Mayfair Diner, a Northeast Philadelphia landmark, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) swiped at Sen. Barack Obama over his evaluation of her husband's administration.

"Sometimes during this campaign my opponent criticizes the '90s [and] criticizes what my husband did," Clinton said. "And that's fair. But when I hear him criticizing the '90s, I keep wondering what part he didn't like -- the peace or the prosperity -- because I liked both."

The line drew huge applause from the crowd that encircled the stage on which Clinton appeared along with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and her daughter, Chelsea. The event was billed as a block party and for hours before Clinton arrived people milled about -- many wearing the trademark black and yellow shirts of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

She cast the race -- as she has done regularly on the stump of late -- as an "extended job interview."

"You're hiring somebody for the toughest job in the world," Clinton said. "I'm asking you to give me a chance to be hired."

Clinton was in fine fettle this evening -- a significant contrast in style to the far more sedate question-and-answer session she participated in at Haverford College earlier in the day.

The tone for the evening was set by Rendell who, as usual, warmed up the crowd nicely with a bit of colorful rhetoric. Rendell described last night's debate as a "decisive knockout" for Clinton and then, as only he can, offered a comparison between this race and the "Rocky" saga.

"It was better than Rocky over Clubber Lang and [Ivan] Drago," Rendell roared. "Our own Rocky -- Hillary Clinton!"

While Clinton opened her remarks with a jab at Obama, she saved her hottest rhetoric for President Bush.

"It is time for us to clean house and one thing women know how to do is to clean house," she said. "I put you on notice, I may need you to come help...there's no telling what we're going to find."

Knowing a win in next Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary is absolutely necessary to continue, Clinton made sure to emphasize the importance of those in attendance to her chances.

"Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are going to lead us to victory on Tuesday," she pledged.

Here is the video of Clinton's appearance

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 17, 2008; 9:44 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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