- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

NASHUA, N.H. — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York yesterday tried to reframe the Democratic presidential contest as “talk versus action” and “rhetoric versus reality,” leveling charges that Sen. Barack Obama has done little more than give impassioned speeches.

“If you gave a speech — and a very good speech — against the war in Iraq in 2002, and then by 2004, you’re saying you’re not sure how you would have voted, and then by 2005, -6, and -7, you vote for $300 billion for the war you said you were against, that’s not change,” Mrs. Clinton told a standing-room-only crowd in a high school gymnasium.

That was a direct hit against Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat who uses each of his campaign appearances to remind voters he opposed the Iraq war from its inception while Mrs. Clinton voted to authorize it. As she did in a debate the previous evening, Mrs. Clinton highlighted issues on which she said Mr. Obama has shifted position. She did not mention she once voted for war funding but now votes against it.

Mrs. Clinton, who voted for both the USA Patriot Act and its reauthorization, told voters Mr. Obama once said he would oppose the act but later voted for it.

The former first lady told voters here if you “rail against” tax breaks for big oil but “you voted for Dick Cheney’s energy bill” in 2005, “that’s not change.” Mrs. Clinton opposed the energy bill, but several senators supporting her candidacy voted for it.

Mrs. Clinton said New Hampshire voters tomorrow must ensure “we nominate and elect a doer, not a talker.”

Mr. Obama, attracting overflow crowds at his events as well, told 3,000 in Exeter that he rejected Mrs. Clinton’s debate argument of Saturday night.

“One of my opponents said we needed a reality check on hope and that we should stop giving people false hopes about what we can accomplish and saying it’s dishonest,” he said. “Well what kind of an agenda is that?”

He worked to reassure voters he is not naive.

“I know how hard it will be to get health care reform. I know that once I get this Democratic nomination, the folks on the other side are going to come after me,” he said. “I know that, but we can’t let that stop us.”

He also told reporters: “There is no such thing as false hopes. We can focus and get things done.”

The Obama campaign also jumped on remarks Mrs. Clinton made about the Iraq war.

“After 9/11, I would never have taken us to war in Iraq,” she said, adding she would have remained focused on Afghanistan. “Now we’re playing catch-up, and it’s a dangerous game of catch-up.”

An Obama spokesman said Mrs. Clinton was trying to rewrite history since she voted for the attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003.

But, responding to that, Mrs. Clinton insisted her vote was not for a pre-emptive war.

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