Clinton Challenges McCain on New Orleans and Obama on North Carolina

(CBS)

From CBS News' John Bentley:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Saying he has the "wrong ideas for America," Hillary Clinton criticized John McCain today for comments he made about New Orleans. "What we need is to have a conversation about what to do – rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is," McCain said about the lower ninth ward in New Orleans. "The difference between Senator McCain and myself is that I have a long record of fighting to rebuild the Gulf," Clinton said. "Senator McCain said he might want to tear down the ninth ward instead of rebuilding it, but I went to the ninth ward after Katrina and met with people there and saw the destruction and I saw the resilience in their eyes and they deserve our help to rebuild."

McCain later said he was committed to rebuilding in New Orleans. "I want every one of us to be able in the near future to walk through the ninth ward and see every one of those homes restored with people living in them."

She also challenged Barack Obama to debate her in North Carolina. "I've said I'll debate anytime, anywhere – I'm so sleep deprived, I'll show up," she said, to applause from the crowd. "I hope we will, because I think you deserve your own debate."

Obama has not entirely ruled out a debate with Clinton in North Carolina, but his campaign has so far refused to commit to a firm date.

The main topic of Clinton's campaign stops today is her commitment to the military. Arguing that a strong economy is an essential part of having a strong national defense, she outlined her plan for strengthening the military by taking care of veterans, ending the war in Iraq, and pulling most U.S. soldiers out. "Our young men and women have done a magnificent job. They have given the Iraqi people the most precious gift you can give another human being – the gift of freedom," she said. "Now it's up to the Iraqis to govern themselves, and we must bring our troops home."