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Mrs. Clinton has said from the beginning that her 15 years fighting that machine has made her stronger and more prepared to win the general election.

But Mr. McCain also has been a recipient of dirty tricks and attack ads by those very same groups and railed against the so-called “swiftboating” that befell Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, during his 2004 run for the presidency.

Mrs. Clinton signaled her recognition of the political shift during a campaign stop Thursday, calling Mr. McCain “a friend of mine” more than once and an “esteemed colleague” that she very much respects. She also mentioned that the two have worked together and went as a team to Iraq to talk to troops.

The Clinton campaign yesterday challenged Mr. Obama’s green economy proposal as a new policy position and one that conflicts with his voting record.

Mr. Obama attacked the Bush administration’s reasoning for ignoring global warming, saying that Vice President Dick Cheney “developed America’s energy policy with a secret task force that opened the door to oil lobbyists and then shut it to every other point of view.”

The Clinton campaign reminded reporters that Mr. Obama voted for the very energy bill he now derides.

“It would have been nice if Senator Obama discovered his newfound concerns about the vice president’s role in making energy policy prior to voting for the Bush-Cheney energy bill in 2005,” said Clinton spokesman Phill Singer.

There are three other Democratic contests today, in Nebraska, Louisiana and the Virgin Islands. Maine Democrats vote tomorrow and the Potomac region holds elections Tuesday.


Today”s Democratic presidential nominating contests are:


The stakes: 78 Democratic delegates.

Lay of the land: Sen. Barack Obama is thought to have an advantage in the caucuses, which are dominated by party activists. However, the state has a strong history of electing women.

Polls done shortly before John Edwards dropped out indicated a tight race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Obama.


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