JACKSON, MISS. -- Barack Obama continued to go after Hillary Clinton this evening, accusing her of using "Republican tactics" against him.
"When in the midst of a campaign you decide to throw the kitchen sink at your opponent because you're behind," he said, "and your campaign starts leaking photographs of me when I'm traveling overseas wearing the native clothes of those folks to make people afraid, and then you run an ad talking about who's going to answer the phone at three in the morning, an ad straight out of the Republican playbook, that's not real change."
Tonight's comments were the most direct criticism from Obama regarding the distribution of the photo of him in traditional African garb. The Clinton campaign denied having anything to do with the photos when they were initially published, and the issue seemed to have faded until Obama brought it up tonight.
The two Democratic contenders have ramped up the rhetoric in recent weeks. Last Thursday, Clinton's campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson accused Obama of using "Ken Starr"-type tactics, alluding to the independent counsel that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. The Clinton campaign was upset about Obama's camp pushing reporters to ask about the Clinton's tax returns. The Obama campaign called those allegations "absurd."
A large crowd of mostly supporters booed whenever Obama mentioned Clinton's name. As he often does, Obama began his criticism of Clinton by expressing his respect for her. However, despite the polite introduction, he quickly turned on her, saying that she accepts money from lobbyists, wavered on NAFTA, and is part of the status quo in Washington.
"Everybody always asks 'well, how come you haven't already wrapped this up? Well, it's because there are a lot of very powerful people who are doing very well under the existing system," he said. "So they resist. They've got power and they've got money. But what we've got are the American people."