Obama: Clintons' Jabs Because of Polls

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

WATERLOO, IOWA -- Barack Obama told reporters today that Bill and Hillary Clinton are taking jabs at him because he is doing well in Iowa polls.

"Look, I mean when I was twenty points down, they all thought that I was a wonderful guy," Obama said, "Obviously things have changed here in Iowa and the rest of the country and that's the kind of politics we've become accustomed to."

He said the Clintons have previously condemned the "politics of personal destruction" and said voters are not interested in "politics as a bloodsport." He vowed to fire any staff member who was involved in attacking another candidate's integrity.

Obama confirmed that he met with Senator Clinton two days ago in Washington and that she apologized for Billy Shaheen's comments. He would not characterize the apology any further or say if he was satisfied with it.

Obama was also asked about President Clinton's appearance last night on "The Charlie Rose Show" where the former president asked, "When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?"

Obama responded, "The same old experience is irreverent, you can have the right kind of experience or the wrong kind of experience and mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change, and that was Bill Clinton in 1992."

CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds asked Obama to comment on Clinton's assertion that Obama is doing well in Iowa because he is from a neighboring state.

"If they're suggesting that I, as this callow youth, somehow had a structural advantage in Iowa relative to the Clinton operation and the former president of the United States, that doesn't strike me as a real plausible argument," Obama said.

With respect to his drug use as a teenager, Obama said he trusts the American people have good judgment.

"I do think that the average American thinks that what somebody does when they were a teenager thirty years ago is probably not relevant to how they are going to be performing as the president of the United States."

On another note, The Des Moines Register will announce its endorsement tonight. Obama said that his campaign has actively sought the endorsement, but that it will not supersede the campaign's field work and direct contact with voters.

As Obama left the press conference room, he was asked what he will do to top Hillary Clinton's helicopter tour of Iowa. "Magic carpets!" Obama joked.