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Obama Wins Wyoming Caucuses

Barack Obama today defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wyoming Democratic presidential caucuses, a victory that comes just four days after he fell short in Ohio and Texas.

David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama, called Wyoming a "very important win" for the campaign, noting that the state played host to "very furious campaigning by the Clinton campaign."

Plouffe noted that Obama has now won 30 contests and said the campaign will net two delegates out of Wyoming today.

With 100 percent of the vote in, Obama won 61 percent to 38 percent for Clinton. The victory netted Obama just two delegates (7 for Obama, 5 for Clinton).

The win was expected, as Obama has dominated most of the small-state caucuses during the nomination fight. His 61 percent of the vote -- if it holds -- would be slightly under the sorts of vote totals Obama wracked up in caucuses in places like Alaska (74 percent), Kansas (70 percent), North Dakota (61 percent) and Idaho (79.5 percent). Of the remaining nine states left to vote, none will hold caucuses.

The Clinton campaign painted the Wyoming results as a better-than-expected showing for the New York senator. "We are thrilled with this near split in delegates and are grateful to the people of Wyoming for their support," campaign chief Maggie Williams said in a statement. " Although the Obama campaign predicted victory in Wyoming weeks ago, we worked hard to present Senator Clinton's vision to the caucus-goers and we thank them for turning out today."

Even as the caucuses in Wyoming were happening, the Clinton and Obama campaigns were at war over the war -- in Iraq, that is.

The Clinton campaign -- woefully oblivious to The Fix's laser-like focus on today's Georgetown-Louisville game -- started the back and forth with a memo e-mailed to reporters earlier this afternoon entitled, "Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words."

The memo seeks to paint Obama as saying one thing on the campaign trail about Iraq even as an adviser -- the recently departed Samantha Power -- was telling people that no plan developed during the campaign would be the basis for the withdrawal of troops if and when he is elected to the White House.

"Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal," the memo reads. "It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?"

Not to be outdone, the Obama campaign released its own memo that alleged Clinton was yet again showing she would do or say anything to win the nomination.

"This may be fun for the Clinton campaign, but this is exactly why people don't trust their leaders anymore," reads the Obama memo. "This is exactly why so many people are so cynical about the political process. And it's exactly what Barack Obama is running to change."

The question where will all of this end? An exchange of memos on a Saturday? With 45 days left until the Pennsylvania primary?

The escalation since around March 1 has been considerable. The Clinton campaign clearly believes that raising persistent questions about Obama and his readiness to be president serves them well. And while the Obama campaign doesn't want to get in a mud fight with their opponent, they also know that letting attacks go unanswered could leave voters with little choice but to believe the charges.

But can this pace possibly be maintained by the two campaigns?

Read the Clinton and Obama campaign memos after the jump...

CLINTON MEMO:

Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not to be mistaken for serious action.

After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will "not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator."

Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's serious about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail.

Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal.

It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?

This latest incident is part of a larger pattern where Senator Obama doesn't deliver on the promises he makes on the campaign trail -- whether it's his 2004 Senate race or his 2008 White House campaign.

In 2003, Senator Obama said he was for a single payer health system, but now opposes plans that cover every American. He promised to repeal the Patriot Act, but then voted to extend it. He promised to normalize relations with Cuba, but flip-flopped when he started running for president.

In 2008, Senator Obama rails against NAFTA in Ohio while his top economic advisor assures the Canadians his rhetoric is just "political positioning." He promises to opt in to public financing if the GOP nominee does, but then breaks that pledge in real time. He promises to withdraw from Iraq within 16 months, and now his top foreign policy adviser says that he's not relying on the plan.

With a short record to run on, Senator Obama's entire campaign is based on the speeches he makes on the campaign trail. So when he and his advisers dismiss the plans he touts on the stump, it undermines his entire candidacy.

Americans have heard plenty of speeches. It's time they got serious solutions and that's what Hillary is going to deliver when she is President.

OBAMA MEMO:

The Clinton campaign has publicly admitted that the only way they can still win this election is by tearing Barack Obama down. They have called their attacks the "kitchen sink strategy," and Senator Clinton herself has referred to it as "the fun part" of the campaign. The result has been a constant barrage of attacks about Senator Obama's record that they know full well aren't true. And yet they repeat them, over and over again, day after day, in an attempt to deceive the American people just so that they can win this election.

This may be fun for the Clinton campaign, but this is exactly why people don't trust their leaders anymore. This is exactly why so many people are so cynical about the political process. And it's exactly what Barack Obama is running to change.

There is no more serious issue than the war in Iraq. 150,000 American troops are risking their lives every day in a conflict that this President and John McCain have no intention of ending anytime soon. It's a conflict that's cost us thousands of lives, billions of dollars, stretched our military and taxed their families, and has seriously undermined our national security, our moral standing, and our ability to go after Osama bin Laden and the core leadership of al Qaeda and finish the job against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose this war before it began for these exact reasons. Senator Clinton voted for this war, and yet she continues to tell the American people that her vote was for diplomacy even though the resolution was titled, "Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of Military Force Against Iraq."

When Senator Obama arrived in the Senate, he called for a phased withdrawal before Senator Clinton did. He also introduced comprehensive legislation in the Senate to begin removing combat troops at a pace of 1-2 brigades a month, with an end date for completing that drawdown - legislation that became the basis for the Senate Democrats' plan to end the war.

Barack Obama has said, repeatedly, that when he is President, his first act will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ask them to immediately put in place his plan for withdrawal. He's also said, as he did recently on 60 Minutes, that as Commander-in-Chief he would retain the flexibility to implement this withdrawal in a way that ensures the safety and security of our troops. But there has never been a doubt about the purpose of his policy - ending this war and bringing our troops home on a timetable for withdrawal.

The Clinton campaign knows full well that this is Senator Obama's position, and they know full well that this flexibility is what his former advisor was referring to. They know it because preserving flexibility for the Commander-in-Chief has also been Senator Clinton's position - or at least it was until she made the judgment that attacking Barack Obama on this issue is more politically beneficial to her campaign.

Washington has played too much politics with the issue of war. It's what got us into Iraq in the first place. It's why so many brave Americans have lost their lives. And it's why the real Commander-in-Chief test in this election isn't about some TV ad, it's about whether the American people will be able to trust in the judgment and the honesty of their next President.

If the Clinton campaign wants to have a serious debate about who opposed the war in Iraq and who's more committed to ending it, we're more than happy to have that debate. But they should stop playing politics with war, and they should stop telling the American people things that they know aren't true. We will not let this campaign be about who can tear each other down. We owe it to the American people to try and lift this country up.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 8, 2008; 6:39 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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