Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that even if rival Barack Obama's claim that he has more support from her husband's administration were true, the statement was "silly" because voters look at qualifications, not a candidate's brain trust.
"This is not a campaign between lists of advisers," Clinton told reporters in a packed diner. "This is a campaign between real people with experience and qualifications to become president on day one."
In Iowa on Friday, Obama suggested he had the support of more of former President Bill Clinton's administration figures than the former first lady. Lists provided by both campaigns quickly showed hers is almost twice as large.
"Why is the national security adviser of Bill Clinton, the secretary of the Navy of Bill Clinton, the assistant secretary of state for Bill Clinton, why are all these people endorsing me?" Obama said. "They apparently believe that my vision of foreign policy is better suited for the 21st century."
Clinton rejected the comment's premise.
"Honestly, it's a silly question. We have hundreds of people's support, not just people who were in my husband's administration, but people from all over the country who have expertise."
She added: "It's important to pick the person who can make the best decision, who is tested and proven as a leader."
Obama's campaign disputed Clinton's proclaimed independence, again citing her support of a 2002 Senate resolution authorizing the use of U.S. force against Iraq.
"If Senator Clinton wants to make this election about who's made the best decisions on foreign policy, that's a comparison we're happy to make since Barack Obama is the only major candidate who opposed the war in Iraq and refused to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran," Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin said.
Clinton said Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq came while he was a member of the Illinois state Senate.
"He wasn't in the Congress at the time," Clinton told reporters.