Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is distancing herself from a key New Hampshire backer who questioned rival Barack Obama’s drug use in his youth, but Clinton says questioning Obama’s record on issues like health care is fair game.
“I reject completely the kind of line-crossing that I’ve stood up against in my campaign consistently, you know, as soon as we find out something happens that we don’t authorize, we don’t condone, we had no part in — we ask people to, you know — please, not be a part of our campaign,” Clinton said during an appearance on Iowa Public Television. “But I do think it’s legitimate to look at our records and look at our qualifications and look at the whole picture because that’s what voters are going to be looking at.”
Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign co-chair resigned after making the comments about Obama, and Clinton personally apologized to Obama. Clinton suggests she is at a disadvantage in Iowa because Obama’s from a neighboring state and rival John Edwards first started campaigning in Iowa in 2003, and Clinton said running campaign ads which compare her record to those of her two main rivals.
“There are a lot of differences among us,” she said on IPTV. “There are differences on issues. There are differences on experience, qualifications, record. Those are the contrasts that should be drawn.”
Clinton acknowledged it was “silly” for her campaign, earlier this month, to cite something Obama wrote in kindergarten, but Clinton maintains there are “legitimate differences” that need to be aired in campaign ads and on the campaign trail.
“We have an opportunity here in Iowa and then in the succeeding contests to nominate the person we think is best able to win in 2008. There has to be an exchange of views. There has to be a legitimate discussion of contrasts among us,” Clinton said on IPTV. “…I think that’s all part of a vigorous, dynamic election cycle.”
Clinton will return to Iowa Sunday to embark on a five-day, 17-town helicopter tour of the state. Iowans may recall John Kerry ferried around the state in a helicopter in the closing days of the 2004 Iowa Caucus campaign.