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Clinton's Preemptive Strike

With expectations running high for fireworks at tonight's Democratic debate, the Clinton campaign launched a bit of a preemptive strike today. Both Barack Obama and John Edwards have signaled that they are set to launch an aggressive new phase in the campaign aimed at the front-runner.

In a memo e-mailed out this afternoon, Clinton's chief strategist Mark Penn asks if the senator's primary opponents are abandoning the "politics of hope." Penn writes, "Does the "politics of hope" mean launching attacks on one candidate? Or does it mean laying out a vision for the American people? Does it mean questioning a rival's integrity? Or does it mean talking about the change we need? The Clinton campaign believes the "politics of hope" should be about outlining how our candidate will reverse the policies of the Bush Administration and give America a new beginning for the 21st Century."

"Considering that both Senators Obama and Edwards made their names by pledging to be positive, the last thing one would have expected was for either of them to go out and announce with pride that they were now going to go negative on a fellow Democrat," Penn pens. "It's unprecedented in my experience."