Election 2008

Clinton Makes a Furious Run at Obama

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An aide to Democrat Hillary Clinton says the candidate is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at rival Barack Obama. New polls from next week's Texas and Ohio primaries suggest she may need the sink, too.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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Live from the NPR studios at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News - news, information and walking vests. I'm Alison Stewart.


And hey, I'm Rachel Martin.

It's Tuesday, February 26th, 2008.

And you and I were both doing our own kind of walking, doing our own kind of exercises at the gym yesterday.

STEWART: Yes. In separate gyms…

MARTIN: Separate gyms.

STEWART: …separate times.

MARTIN: Happened to catch a glimpse of Oprah.


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STEWART: Oprah is a genius, and Oprah - the walking vest actually applies to Oprah. We'll explain that part a little bit later, but she had on, as a guest, Valerie Bertinelli…

MARTIN: Mm-hmm.

STEWART: …from "One Day at a Time," who's written this book, this book called "Losing It," which is lost all this weight but she's found herself and she's very candid about her life with Eddie Van Halen. She was married to him, of course. And I thought, oh, this is one of those Oprah things. I get email this morning. Barnes and Noble, the Valerie Bertinelli book on sale. I get another piece of stamp from another bookstore, Valerie Bertinelli mailer.

MARTIN: Amazing.

STEWART: I didn't know she was this important or popular.

MARTIN: I didn't either. But…

STEWART: No clue.

MARTIN: I have to admit, she came across as pretty endearing.


MARTIN: She's a cute lady.

STEWART: She's kind of a charmer. So - but we'll explain that walking vests in The Most, which is coming up in just about 15 or 20 minutes. Also coming up, on today's show, I don't know if you knew this or not, but every year, a senator in the Senate Chamber reads George Washington's farewell address around the time of Washington's birthday.

MARTIN: I had no idea this happened, actually.

STEWART: Yeah. It's a long speech. It's 45 minutes to read. It's - the language is difficult, and one senator is chosen to go for it every year. This year, it was Senator Mark Pryor from Arkansas. We'll talk to him in just about five minutes about the experience, what the speech meant to him and because there's some really interesting things that parallels from Washington's speech that could be applied to what's going on in the world today.

MARTIN: Interesting. Also, NAFTA, you probably heard about this battered around a lot recently. This is going to be on the menu for sure tonight at the Democratic debate in Ohio, especially after the tussle this weekend over these mailers, these flyers that Senator Barack Obama sent out lambasting Hillary Clinton on NAFTA. So we're going to give you a primer on where each of the candidates stands so you can be informed when you watch the debate tonight.

STEWART: And a documentary film about gay tolerance that was made for school classrooms. We'll talk to the filmmaker. We'll also get today's headlines in just a minute, but first, here's the BPP's Big Story.

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MARTIN: Everything but the kitchen sink. That's what Hillary Clinton's throwing at Barack Obama just one week from the crucial Texas and Ohio primaries, according to one of her aides. But new poll numbers out today show she may need the sink, too.

STEWART: Last week, Clinton was most ingratiating when she met Obama for a debate in Texas.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Democratic Presidential Candidate): I am honored to be here with Barack Obama.

MARTIN: On Saturday, Clinton struck a decidedly different tone. She took issue over Senator Obama's characterization of her positions on NAFTA and health care.

Sen. CLINTON: This is the kind of attack that not only undermines core Democratic values but gives aid and comfort to the very special interests and their allies and the Republican party who are against doing what we want to for America. So shame on you, Barack Obama.

STEWART: So that's two. Number three, it was another approach yesterday. Speaking in Rhode Island, Senator Clinton seemed to be making fun of Obama's oratory.

Sen. CLINTON: Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified, the sky will open.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Sen. CLINTON: The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Sen. CLINTON: Maybe I've just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be.

MARTIN: So is Clinton's strategy working? New polls out today saying not necessarily. The polls indicate Obama has made major inroads with almost demographic, and he's leading Clinton nationally for the first time. That's according to New York Times-CBS News poll. But Clinton still leads him among white women, and those polls still see her as being better prepared to be president.

STEWART: Now the USA Today Gallup Poll also has Obama ahead nationally. It says Democrats think Obama is more likely to beat Senator John McCain by a two to one margin. Republicans agree. They would think Obama represents a stronger challenge by a three to one margin in that poll.

MARTIN: Meanwhile, the AP/Ipsos poll has Obama and Clinton in a virtual tie and says either one of them would beat McCain.

STEWART: And another controversy brewing that may or may not have anything to do with Clinton's kitchen sink strategy, a photo has surfaced of Obama in Kenya in 2006 wearing a tunic and a turban, but nobody seems to know where this photo came from.

MARTIN: So what's next for the last two Democrats standing?

Sen. CLINTON: Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate.

MARTIN: We'll see what fallout, if any, Hillary Clinton's kitchen sink strategy will have in tonight's debate.

STEWART: And that's the BPP's Big Story. Let's get some more of today's headlines.

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