Clinton Turns Tables, Calls Obama the "Establishment" Candidate
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:
ORONO, MAINE -- For months, Hillary Clinton has battled the image that she is the "status quo" candidate - an image that has been strongly pushed by Barack Obama and former rival John Edwards.
But today, Clinton is trying to turn the tables on Obama saying that he has "increasingly run an establishment race and he has increasingly relied on big endorsements and celebrities to sort of attach himself to to get the kind of validation that comes from that sort of endorsement."
At a news conference at the University of Maine, Clinton added that Obama's positions have shifted with outside pressures.
"And he has increasingly, in my view, really tailored his positions so that they are more establishment-oriented like giving up on universal health care, so I think there is an argument to be made there. If we want a Democrat to be the Democratic standard bearer, who stands for the positive, progressive agenda of the Democratic party as opposed to more of the same or a little less than more of the same, then I think I'm the best candidate to carry that message."
In the past few days Clinton has sharpened her rhetoric toward Obama. Last night at a rally in Spokane, Washington, Clinton likened Obama to President Bush.
Clinton has also been saying that she is the best candidate to run against John McCain in the general election, claiming that her experience puts her in a better position to do so.
"I have been vetted, tested and proven as a winning candidate against tough opposition. I think that's a great advantage that I take into the general election."
She went on to say that she is the candidate who people can "imagine" to be the president, implying that Obama lacks that quality.
"There is no doubt in my mind that [McCain] and his campaign and the Republican party will once again try to make this about national security and its imperative that we have a Democratic candidate that people can imagine as commander-in-chief, standing there with Senator McCain, and I believe that I cross that threshold," Clinton said.
For weeks, both the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign have talked about the importance of delegates in this race, and with both Obama and Clinton in a dead heat for the party's nomination, every delegate is going to matter.
But Obama has called on superdelegates, who are not permanently committed to any one candidate, to back the support of pledged delegates. Clinton disagrees
"Well superdelegates by design are supposed to exercise independent judgment. That is the way the system works. But of course if Senator Obama and his campaign continue to push this position, which is really contrary to what the definition of superdelegate has historically meant, I will look forward to receiving the support of Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry," said Clinton.
"And I think, again, if people want to go after delegates were in places where I've won who are supporting somebody else, then what's good for the goose should be good for the gander."
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