Clinton, seeking comeback, ridicules Obama

United States Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, staggered by 10 voting losses in a row, ridiculed surging rival Barack Obama on Wednesday as all talk and little substance as she tried to slow his momentum.

The New York senator and former first lady is in the fight of her political life after losing the Democratic votes in Wisconsin and Hawaii on Tuesday to Obama, the first-term Illinois senator whose powerful ”yes we can” speaking style has carried him to the frontrunner’s position.

With the string of wins, Obama has broadened his voting coalition and taken control of the race for the Democratic nomination in the November election. He now has wins in 25 of the state-by-state contests; Clinton has 11.

At a fund-raising event in New York, Clinton belittled Obama as an inexperienced choice for commander-in-chief in a dangerous world, for advocating a healthcare plan that is not as expansive as hers and for giving airy speeches.

”It’s about picking a president who relies not just on words but on work, on hard work,” she said. ”We need to make a choice between speeches and solutions, because while words matter greatly, the greatest words in the world are not enough unless you match them with action.”

”Now others might be joining a movement,” she said. ”Well, I’m joining you on the night shift, and on the day shift.”

A new Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday said Obama has leaped past Clinton and built a big national lead in the US Democratic presidential race.

The poll showed Obama, who would be the first black president, with a 14-point edge over Clinton, 52% to 38%, after being in a statistical tie with the New York senator last month.

‘More than big rallies’

Obama, in his Wisconsin victory speech before thousands in Houston on Tuesday night, countered accusations from both Clinton and the likely Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, that his campaign is all about eloquent speeches.

He said he realised ”it is going to take more than big rallies, it is going to require more than rousing speeches” and policy papers to win.

”It is going to require something more, because the problem that we face in America today is not a lack of good ideas, it’s that Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die,” he said.

Clinton was later flying to Texas for events in Hidalgo and Brownsville before a Thursday night debate in Austin with Obama that is one of her last chances to take him on face-to-face.

Analysts believe Clinton can only turn around her campaign by winning big victories in the March 4 contests in Texas and Ohio. The two states offer a rich trove of 334 convention delegates that Clinton desperately needs.

Obama and McCain are already tossing barbs at each other in what could be a preview of the general election campaign to decide the next president on November 4.

In Wisconsin on Tuesday night, McCain asked: ”Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate.”

Obama fired back that McCain backed President George Bush’s economic policies and wants to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely, while he would withdraw them quickly.

”He represents the policies of yesterday and we want to be the party of tomorrow,” Obama said.

McCain told ABC on Wednesday he believed Obama was now his greatest threat, ”but I don’t think you could count Senator Clinton out. She’s shown great resilience in the past.”

McCain, who at 71 would be the oldest person to ever win a first presidential term, faces lingering opposition from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has essentially no chance of winning the Republican nomination but garners support from social conservatives.

Asked by CNN why he is staying in the race, Huckabee said he wanted to make sure the issues of illegal immigration and the ailing US economy remain on the table.

”If I leave, we are not going to have it. We’re not talking about tax reform and we need to. A lot of Americans are hurting,” Huckabee said. — Reuters

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