PHILADELPHIA -- Barack Obama drew sharp contrasts between himself and Hillary Clinton tonight, in his most intense criticism of her since he started campaigning in Pennsylvania last month. Speaking to a crowd of over 30,000, Obama accused Clinton of pandering to Pennsylvania voters and using the "kitchen sink" strategy against him.
"In the last few months, she's launched what her campaign calls a "kitchen sink" strategy of negative attacks, which she defends by telling us that this is what the Republicans would do. She says that's how the game is played."
Referring to the controversy that ensued after his comments at a San Francisco fund-raiser, Obama accused Clinton of drumming up what he calls a "fake controversy" and using distractions to score political points.
"I don't believe we can bring about change if we don't declare our independence from the politics that exploits our differences and inflames the divisions in our country; the politics that feeds on fake controversy, and distraction, where you keep track of how many points you score on your opponent instead of how many problems you solve for the American people. That may make for good headlines and good television, but it doesn't make for good government."
Obama said Clinton has subscribed to a "say-anything, do-anything, special interest-driven game in Washington."
"In every election, politicians come to your cities and your towns, and they tell you what you want to hear, and they make big promises, and they lay out all these plans and policies. But then they go back to Washington when the campaign's over, and nothing changes," Obama said.
"Not this time. This year we can't afford the same old politics. This year we can declare our independence from this kind of politics."
He charged that she has taken more money from lobbyists than any other presidential candidate and has changed positions on trade on the campaign trail. "What you can't do is come to Pennsylvania and make it sound like you've been opposed to NAFTA and the permanent trade treaty with China for your whole life when you've actually spent a decade as a champion of both," Obama said.
Although his focus seemed to be Clinton, Obama briefly mentioned John McCain, criticizing his comments that the economy has progressed under the Bush administration.
According to the campaign, the 35,000 that showed up was the largest crowd that they have ever had, spanning across two city blocks in downtown Philadelphia. Up until tonight, the South Carolina rally featuring Oprah Winfrey was the largest.