The Washington Times - February 26, 2008, 06:00PM
Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Barack Obama today said he didn’t expect a fiery debate tonight with rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.\ \ \ “I’m sure it will be conducted in a civil fashion,” the Illinois senator said. “I would expect [Mrs. Clinton] to argue vigorously her case for why she should be president and I’m sure she’ll point out differences she had with me.”\ \ \ It is the 20th time the two will face off and perhaps the last time this campaign season.\ \ \ The debate presents Mrs. Clinton of New York one of her last chances to trip up Mr. Obama’s meteoric rise before March 4 contests in Texas and Ohio, which could make or break the Clinton campaign after losing 11 consecutive state primaries.\ \ \ Clinton campaign officials declined to divulge debate strategy, but Mrs. Clinton is expected to take sharp aim at her opponent tonight.\ \ \ Mr. Obama, who admits stumbling in his answers at earlier debates, said he was confident he had fine tuned his debate style for “brevity and succinctness.”\ \ \ The high stakes were evident in recent days as the campaigns traded accusations of dirty politics and other harsh barbs, including Mrs. Clinton’s charge her foe plagiarized in a speech and the Obama campaign’s finger-pointing over a photograph that surfaced yesterday of him wearing a turban and Muslim-style robes.

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To: Interested Parties\ \ From: Mark Penn\ \ Phil Singer\ \ Date: February 26, 2008\ \ \ Subject: Countdown to March 4th Proposed Schedule\ \ \ In the countdown to March 4th, we have developed a schedule that demonstrates momentum and underscores Hillary’s strength and experience on the national security front and in her approach to solving our economic challenges. \ \ \ This schedule reinforces our larger message: Hillary Clinton is in the solutions business. She will be ready on Day One to solve our urgent problems and stand up for the voiceless. She is ready to be Commander in Chief and to end this war, ready to manage the economy, ready to restore our middle class dream, ready to take on the special interests, and ready to take on John McCain and take back the White House.\ \ \ Our message complements our organizational strength on the ground in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont, including 41,000 volunteers in Texas and 26,000 volunteers in Ohio.\ \ \ In addition to President Clinton and Chelsea, we have major surrogates traveling across Ohio and Texas, including Governors Corzine, Strickland, and Spitzer and former Governor Vilsack; former Senator John Glenn; several members of Congress, including Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Allyson Schwartz, Steve Israel, Anthony Weiner, Sheila Jackson Lee, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, former Congressman Gephardt; several flag officers, including Generals Clark, Watkins and Kennedy, Admiral Stone; Keyshawn Johnson, Lily Tomlin, Mary Steenburgen, and Ted Danson. \ \ \ Tuesday\ \ \ Economic message event, Lorain, OH\ \ \ Debate, OH\ \ \ Wednesday\ \ \ Economic Solutions Summit, Zanesville, OH: Hillary will be joined in a discussion with several governors, CEOs, labor leaders, mayors, and Ohioans about the economic challenges facing America and solutions to turn the economy around. She will hear about the real problems people face and the solutions they bring to the table. In the summit, Hillary will offer her economic blueprint including her plans to create jobs, provide universal health care, fix NAFTA, and tackle America’s mortgage crisis.\ \ \ Thursday\ \ \ Child Poverty — Giving Every Child a Chance, Appalachia, OH: Building on her life’s work as an advocate for children and families, Hillary will meet with families hard-hit by the Bush economy and will introduce her plan to address child poverty.\ \ \ Friday\ \ \ Veterans Event, TX: Joined by veterans and flag officers, Hillary will discuss her continued commitment to a strong military and serving America’s veterans. She will discuss her plan to provide health care and benefits to those who’ve served, building on her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. \ \ \ Saturday\ \ \ GOTV! Texas: Hillary will tour the state of Texas encouraging voters to have their voices heard on Tuesday. She will talk about leveling the playing field by taking on the special interests and strengthening the middle class.\ \ \ Sunday\ \ \ Caravan for Clinton: Friends of Hillary’s from across the country will join supporters in OH in a caravan across the state. \ \ \ Monday\ \ \ Texas-Sized Town Hall, TX: Hillary will host a large town hall broadcast on the Internet and on television in eight markets in Texas. Texans will be invited to call in their questions or send them via Internet. \ \ \ Tuesday\ \ \ Vote!
Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times