Clinton Makes a Furious Run at Obama

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.

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

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RACHEL MARTIN, Newscaster:

Live from NPR Studios at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, this is the BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News: news, information, drunk hairdressers. Hey, I'm Rachel Martin.

ALISON STEWART, host:

And I'm Alison Stewart. It is Tuesday, February 26, 2008, and I need to hear more about the latter.

MARTIN: So the other day, I went in for a little haircut. I thought I want to mix it up a little bit. I want to get bangs. Everybody's talking about bangs. Bangs are so cool. Everyone's got bangs. I want bangs. I go in across the street to my little hair salon. My regular stylist isn't available. They say oh, this other guy is available. He just got off his shift and has a couple minutes. I say fine. The guy comes out, and he says full disclosure, I've been drinking in the back with my colleagues.

STEWART: And you still sat down?

MARTIN: And I'm like okay.

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STEWART: Never let a slightly intoxicated hairdresser try to cut in a straight line across the front of your face.

MARTIN: Let's just say not only was it not even, but it just kept getting shorter and shorter as the event went on.

STEWART: Oh no.

MARTIN: That's my little lesson. That's my bit of moral wisdom today.

STEWART: Well they don't look bad.

MARTIN: Thanks. I used bobby pins and lots of hair product, which swept them to the side.

STEWART: The choppy look.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Yeah, choppy and not very cool.

STEWART: Not bad.

MARTIN: Maybe I'll put a picture on the blog of my bangs.

STEWART: It's radio. Therefore, it's A-okay.

MARTIN: That's right.

STEWART: Coming up this hour on the BRYANT PARK PROJECT, Visa plans to go ahead with an IPO, an initial public offering, that could fetch about $18 billion. Do you care? We're not really sure we do, either, but we have someone who says you should.

MARTIN: It's a lot of money.

STEWART: I mean, yeah, $18 billion, I'd care about that. It's not mine, though. We have an edition of Make Me Care about the Visa IPO.

MARTIN: Also, our producer, Ian Chillag, went on a culinary adventure. He went to this class last night where people learn about why things taste the way they do while you're eating them. So we'll get a little debrief from Ian.

STEWART: And it's new music Tuesday. Janet Jackson and Dolly Parton, enough said. We'll get to today's headlines in just a minute, but first, here is the BPP's big story.

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STEWART: Everything but the kitchen sink. That's what one aide says Hillary Clinton is throwing at Barack Obama just one week before the crucial Texas and Ohio primaries. But new poll numbers out today show that Senator Clinton may need that kitchen sink, too.

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

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

STEWART: On Saturday, she 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 in the Republican party who are against doing what we want to do for America. So shame on you, Barack Obama.

MARTIN: Sunday, it was another approach. Speaking in Rhode Island, Clinton seemed to be poking fun at Obama's oratory.

Sen. CLINTON: Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open…

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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.

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(Soundbite of laughter)

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

STEWART: So is this so-called kitchen-sink strategy working? Let's look at the polls. There's a whole bunch of them out today. A new poll says that Obama has made major inroads with almost every demographic, and he's leading Clinton nationally for the first time in the New York Times-CBS News poll. But Senator Clinton still leads among white women, and those polled still see her as being, quote, better prepared, end-quote, to be president.

MARTIN: The USA Today-Gallop poll also has Obama ahead nationally. It says Democrats think Obama is more likely to beat John McCain, by a two-to-one margin. Republicans agree. They think Obama represents a stronger challenge, by a three-to-one margin.

STEWART: Meanwhile, the A.P./Ipsos poll has Obama and Clinton in a virtual tie and says either one of them would beat Senator John McCain.

MARTIN: And another controversy brewing that may or may not have anything to do with Clinton's kitchen sink, a photo has surfaced of Obama in Kenya on a visit there in 2006. He's wearing the traditional garb of the region, a tunic and turban, but nobody seems to know where the photo came from or how it ended up on the Drudge Report.

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

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

STEWART: And that's what's going to happen tonight. That's the BPP's big story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines from Rachel.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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