- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told voters here yesterday that President Bush has squandered the international good will and strong economic standing her husband, former President Bill Clinton, created in the 1990s.

“We’ve got to get back to where we can trust our government again,” the New York Democrat said while campaigning in the early primary state.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a government again that was respected around the world?” Mrs. Clinton asked a crowd at the Allen Temple A.M.E. Church. “I think America is ready to have a president … that will create alliances, not alienation, and I know America is ready for a president who will once and for all end the war in Iraq.”

Supporters lauded Mrs. Clinton’s performance in Thursday night’s first-in-the-season debates, saying she proved herself the most experienced contender.

“We’ve got a lot of strong candidates, but there was no one stronger last night than Senator Hillary Clinton,” said Andy Arnold, chairman of the Greenville Democrats, adding that the senator is “strong enough and in command enough” to run the country.

Mr. Arnold noted Mrs. Clinton “could have went anywhere today,” especially a bluer, “friendlier” part of the state such as Charleston, where her top rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, spent part of the day.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton chose Greenville, where there is an ongoing “culture war” against reproductive rights, Mr. Arnold said.

“She came to the front lines to stand with us, so let’s stand with her,” he said.

Mr. Obama and the other Democrats spent the day campaigning across the Palmetto State — which holds its primary Jan. 29 — before attending a Democratic dinner and fish fry in Columbia.

Mr. Obama announced some campaign hires and was bolstered by a SurveyUSA poll of South Carolinians showing 31 percent favor him. Mrs. Clinton was close behind with 24 percent. The poll surveyed 1,250 persons, but only 403 of them watched Thursday’s debate.

The other six Democratic candidates attending the debate — Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, former Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Mike Gravel of Alaska, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio — yesterday worked to spin their debate performance into a victory.

Mr. Biden, praised for giving strong answers on foreign policy and a memorable debate laugh line, challenged the other Democrats to a separate 90-minute forum exclusively on Iraq policy.

He began an online petition called “60 Seconds is Not Enough,” saying the sound bites from the debate don’t give voters the full picture.

Mr. Edwards said his challengers should stand up to Mr. Bush if he makes good on his veto threat for a war-spending supplemental bill. He also complained about the 60-second time limit for debate answers.

At two events yesterday in Greenville, Mrs. Clinton talked about her plans to end the Iraq war and her proposed domestic policy. When asked by pro-life Democrats about abortion, she carefully replied, “The reason many of us support a woman’s right to choose is not because we support abortion.

“There are many people who are pro-choice who do not personally support abortion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “What we are worried about is the government … making decisions for women and families.”

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