Friday, February 23, 2007

Obama Wants To End "Tit-For-Tat" Politics

From the Associate Press:

Fresh off a spat with rival Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he'd like to see an end to the "tit-for-tat" that dominates politics.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns fired off dueling press releases this week over a top Hollywood donor who was a supporter of Bill Clinton but is backing Obama in this race.

The Clinton campaign demanded that Obama return DreamWorks studio co-founder David Geffen's money after Geffen criticized the Clintons as dishonest, among other things. Obama declined, and his spokesman criticized Clinton in return for accepting the support of a South Carolina lawmaker who said Obama can't win because he's black.

Obama told donors at a Houston fundraiser Thursday night that the nation will remain at a standstill "if we continue to engage in small and divisive politics and tit-for-tat."

"Our country is at a crossroads right now," he said, citing problems in Iraq and domestically with education, energy and health care. "It's not as if we don't know what the solutions are. What's missing is the inability of our leadership to develop consensus."

Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Friday that he relishes the infighting that has consumed two of his potential Democratic opponents, Sens. Clinton and Obama.

"It's great, isn't it?" Romney said to peals of laughter from crowd of employees at a solar-related equipment plant on the newly declared candidate's first visit to the leadoff presidential primary state. "I love to see it when it happens on the other side."

The former Massachusetts governor described his leading Republican rivals, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as "friends" and "national heroes," before adding, "I respect them. I'm sure we'll disagree on issues from time to time, but I doubt you'll see the rancor that apparently may exist elsewhere."

Obama was speaking to about 300 people gathered at the Communication Workers of America union hall. Although the event was advertised as requiring a minimum $100 contribution, lower amounts were accepted at the door.

The campaign would not say how much Obama raised at the event. He also visited St. Louis earlier in the day to raise money.

Obama was scheduled to speak Friday at a massive outdoor rally in Austin, Texas. More than 10,000 people have signed up for free tickets on Obama's Web site, the campaign said.
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