GOP recycles Clinton’s attacks against Obama

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She added, “I think it’s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold. And, I believe that I have done that, certainly Senator McCain has done that, and you will have to ask Senator Obama with respect to his candidacy.”

Those comments were pulled together in a Republican National Committee ad questioning Mr. Obama’s experience, and appear on an RNC Web site- ClintonVsObama, www.gop.com/clintonvsobama/.

Now, the candidates have come together, and Mrs. Clinton will extend her enthusiastic endorsement further next Thursday as she introduces her former opponent to her top fundraisers in the District. A source familiar with the event’s planning said the candidates also are looking for a date for a public appearance with the two Democrats together.

Back when they were political rivals Mr. Obama predicted that Mrs. Clinton’s words would resurface.

“I’m sure that Senator Clinton feels like she’s doing me a great favor, because she’s been deploying most of the arguments that the Republican Party will be using against me in November, so it’s toughening me up,” Mr. Obama said at the Associated Press annual luncheon in April.

Indeed, it was Mrs. Clinton who first riffed on Mr. Obama’s “hopeful” message, and talked about the “audacity” of the senator from Illinois in a reference to his book title, and now the RNC and Mr. McCain’s team offer a snarky “Audacity Watch” in e-mails to reporters. Mr. McCain also has lambasted Mr. Obama’s “Change You Can Believe In” slogan, similar to Mrs. Clinton’s label “Change You Can Xerox” back in February.

Mrs. Clinton hit Mr. Obama in a February debate that he hadn’t held a hearing in his Foreign Relations subcommittee about Afghanistan. Republicans have adopted the line as well. Voters can expect the Republicans to needle Mr. Obama on his “present” votes in the Illinois state senate, something Mrs. Clinton often mentioned.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday gathered his new national security team, which now includes former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who each previously backed Mrs. Clinton.

He told reporters that their positions were similar and that’s why “it’s so easy for … senior advisers of Senator Clinton to support my candidacy.”

Ms. Albright was not so kind last year when the Democrats sparred over whether to meet with leaders of rogue nations. She said in July that Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to meet with the leaders without preconditions was a perfect answer while Mr. Obama’s idea lacked “diplomatic spadework.”

That argument between the Democrats - one of their main differences - morphed into the first real fight between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain.

Republicans are using words of former Clinton supporters who have said anything remotely negative about the presumed Democratic nominee against him, such as when Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland once compared Mr. Obama’s run for the presidency to choosing the “next American Idol.”

Other Clinton greatest hits the Republicans may be using this fall:

From a February speech in the Washington: “The American people don’t have to guess whether I understand the issues or whether I would need a foreign policy instruction manual to guide me through a crisis, or whether I’d have to rely on advisers to introduce me to global affairs.”

In late February in Ohio: “We need a president who also realizes that we have real enemies. I know it’s true, because I went to ground zero the day after 9/11. We need a president who knows what it takes to protect and defend the United States.”

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About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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