- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008

SPECIAL PREVIEW: For the full version of this developing story, read tomorrow’s editions of The Washington Times or visit www.washingtontimes.com. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrect reported that Newsday had acknowledged that its use of ‘boon’ was an error. The paper said merely that ‘boon’ was its word, but defended it as characterization of Mrs. Clinton’s statements on NAFTA. DAYTON, Ohio — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton upped her “all talk, no action” criticism of Sen. Barack Obama this morning, comparing it to President Bush.

Mrs. Clinton told Ohio voters at a rally here the next president entering the Oval Office will see a file folder on the desk labeled “George Bush’s mess” and painted herself as the only candidate ready to quickly get it filed and collated.

She said seven years ago Mr. Bush “talked” about compassionate conservatism, bringing the nation together, helping Americans afford health care, and making sure they got retirement benefits.

“People keep talking about change in this election,” she said in a pointed reference to Mr. Obama’s campaign. “Well, we have lived through some of the worst change that any of us have ever seen in the last seven years.”

“Fool me, once shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me,” she said.

More fireworks came later today, after her campaign stop in Cincinnati. Mrs. Clinton excoriated Mr. Obama’s campaign for sending out misleading mailings to Ohio voters about her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement and her health care plan both major issues in this state with a large number of blue-collar and union voters. “We have consistently called him on it. It has been discredited. It is blatantly false, and yet he continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods,” Mrs. Clinton said. “That is not the new politics that the speeches are about. It is not hopeful. It is destructive, particularly for a Democrat to be discrediting universal health care by waging a false campaign against my plan, and to be talking about NAFTA in a way that tries to make him appear to have a plan when he does not.” The Obama mailing about NAFTA says that “Mrs. Clnton believes NAFTA was ‘a boon’ for the American economy,” using an excerpt from a graphic that appeared with a Newsday story. “Time and time again you hear one thing in speeches and then you see a campaign that has the worst kind of tactics reminiscent of the same sort of Republican attacks on Democrats,” Mrs. Clinton said. Mr. Obama’s campaign responded to the criticism in an e-mail to reporters by spokesman Bill Burton. “Everything in those mailers is completely accurate, unlike the discredited attacks from Hillary Clinton’s negative campaign that have been rejected in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and across America,” Mr. Burton said. “We look forward to having a debate this Tuesday on the facts, and the facts are that Senator Clinton was a supporter of NAFTA and the China permanent trade treaties until this campaign began. And she herself has said that under the Clinton health care plan, she would consider ‘going after the wages’ of Americans who don’t purchase health insurance, whether they can afford it or not.”

This was Mrs. Clinton’s second trip to Cincinnati in as many weeks.

Touring the state with its Democratic governor, Ted Strickland, she said she would create new $3,000 and $1,500 tax credits to offset the cost of ”caregiving and long-term care”; create an employer mandate for guaranteed sick days; and establish American retirement accounts with tax benefits for retirement savings.

Her plan for families also includes expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employers with as few as 25 workers, which would cover 13 million more people, for unpaid leave in the case of an medical emergency and childbirth.

Mrs. Clinton reiterated her position to ”revise and reform NAFTA,” pushing back against an Obama campaign television ad that states she supports it.

She listed several of her past accomplishments as first lady and senator and emphasized that she would be tough on foreign terrorists and hostile nations.

”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 the election. We need a president who knows what it takes to protect and defend the United States of America,” Mrs. Clinton said.

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