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Obama accuses Clinton of scare tactics ahead of pivotal Democratic contests

Obama accuses Clinton of scare tactics ahead of pivotal Democratic contests

Barack Obama accused rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday of trying to "scare up votes" with a new ad as the former first lady struggled to halt his sprint to the White House ahead of key Democratic presidential nominating contests next week.
Obama's criticism came after Clinton unveiled an ad to run in Texas that showed images of sleeping children and asked which candidate would be more qualified to answer a national security emergency call at 3 a.m. The ad was designed to appeal to women voters _ a core bloc Clinton needs in order to salvage her faltering campaign in the March 4 races in Texas and Ohio.
"We've seen these ads before," Democratic front-runner said while campaigning in Texas. "They're the kind that play on peoples' fears to scare up votes. Well, it won't work this time. Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is: What kind of judgment will you make when you answer?"
Obama's string of 11 victories since the Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" contests has raised questions about the viability of Clinton's candidacy. Her campaign announced Thursday that it had its best fundraising month ever, securing $35 million (euro23.08 million), but aides and supporters concede she must win the Tuesday contests to remain competitive. The four contests, which include Rhode Island and Vermont, offer a total of 370 delegates.
A Fox News poll released Friday showed Obama moving into a narrow lead of 48 percent to Clinton's 45 percent in Texas, but that fell within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The poll, conducted Feb. 26-28, showed Obama with a large edge among white men, blacks and younger voters, while Clinton leads among women, Hispanics and the oldest voters.
But the Fox survey found Clinton holding on to her narrowing lead in Ohio with 46 percent to Obama's 38 percent. Clinton was leading among women, whites, less educated and lower earning voters, and people over 45, while cutting into Obama's usual large margin among men and the college-educated.
The sleeping children ad marked another jab by Clinton at what she says is the first-term senator's lack of national security and foreign policy experience _ an issue upon which presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and even President George W. Bush have seized. It is another blow in a Democratic race where bouts of acrimony have been punctuated with briefs spells of cordiality.
Clinton has tried to argue that though Obama offers stylish talk, she is the one equipped to handle a crisis from her first day in the White House. She has previously implied that Obama would need an "instruction manual" to handle such emergencies.
The Clinton ad shows children sleeping and a mother checking on a child as an announcer says a phone is ringing in the White House and something has happened in the world. It ends with an image of Clinton on the telephone as the announcer asks, "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safely asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"
Obama answered the question himself.
"We've had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer," he said in a speech to veterans and their families Friday.
Obama, who is trying to become the U.S.'s first black president, has increasingly targeted McCain _ a tactic he said he adopted because of the Republican's criticisms of him. The two sparred over the past few days over al-Qaida in Iraq, with Bush joining the fray.
But the Illinois senator struck back again Friday, saying that he opposed the Iraq war and had stressed that it would "distract us from the real threat we face and that we should take the fight to al-Qaida in Afghanistan."
"That's the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, and that's the kind of judgment I'll show when I answer that phone in the White House as President of the United States," he said, speaking in a state that is home not only to Bush, but also to 16 active-duty military bases, including America's largest.
Addressing 60 veterans and their families at a town hall meeting at American Legion Post 490 in Houston, Obama said, "Veterans are bearing the brunt of bad decision-making by our leaders."
The president's job is "to keep people safe. ... It means deploying our military wisely," he continued. "War should not be the first resort. ... lt should not be based on politics."
The Obama campaign also responded to Clinton's ad by re-airing a commercial in which retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, the Air Force chief of staff from 1990 to 1994, endorses Obama.
Obama has largely ignored Clinton in days past. But he conceded Thursday the race is not over and he has not written the obituary for her White House bid.
Despite Clinton's increased fundraising, Obama is still outspending her in Ohio and Texas. His campaign also said that they raised more money than the former first lady in February, but would not divulge the total.
While Texas and Ohio are pivotal for Clinton, Obama said Thursday that if he comes out of the four races Tuesday still leading Clinton by 100-150 pledged delegates, he would go to the convention with the most pledged delegates "and believe that we should be the nominee."
Obama has 1,378 delegates to Clinton's 1,276. A total of 2,025 are needed to secure the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in late August.
The Democratic front-runner leads Clinton 49 percent to 40 percent according to a national poll released Thursday. The results are a marked contrast to the lead she held in similar polls just three weeks ago. The Pew Research Center poll was conducted from Feb. 20-24 and had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The Republican race is considered settled in favor of McCain, a senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war. He has a total of 1,014 of the 1,191 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the Republican convention in September. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, trails with 257 delegates.


Updated : 2021-05-07 22:16 GMT+08:00