Obama v. Clinton(s): Harsh Words In the days leading to Saturday's Democratic primary in South Carolina, the battle between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama has gotten nasty and personal, fueled in part by comments from former President Clinton.
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Obama v. Clinton(s): Harsh Words

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Obama v. Clinton(s): Harsh Words

Obama v. Clinton(s): Harsh Words

Obama v. Clinton(s): Harsh Words

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In the days leading to Saturday's Democratic primary in South Carolina, the battle between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama has gotten nasty and personal, fueled in part by comments from former President Clinton.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Good morning.

MARA LIASSON: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: Hillary Clinton - if you open your newspaper or Web site this morning, you'll find out Hillary Clinton got the endorsement of the New York Times.

LIASSON: Yes, she did. And I suppose if she didn't get the endorsement of her hometown paper that would have been a very big surprise. But it was a strong endorsement. It did include a warning to Mr. Clinton to change the tone of the campaign because the New York Times said it's not good for the country and it could do long-term damage to her candidacy if it continues (unintelligible). Yeah.

INSKEEP: Can I just stop you for a second? You said a warning to Mr. Clinton. That wasn't a (unintelligible).

LIASSON: No. No. I mean Senator Clinton.

INSKEEP: Oh, Senator Clinton.

LIASSON: Well, actually, it was a warning to both of them.

INSKEEP: That's what I'm asking.

LIASSON: It mentioned both Senator Clinton and her husband. And, of course, that is the big news of this week - the way this campaign is being waged.

INSKEEP: Which you mean what?

LIASSON: And I should also point out that Obama also pulled the radio ad this week, a very tough response ad, saying that Senator Clinton will, quote, "say anything and change nothing."

INSKEEP: What are other Democrats saying about the way that Bill Clinton has weighted into this campaign and attack Obama?

LIASSON: And Democrats are uncomfortable with this because this is what they think the Clintons used to decry - the politics of personal destruction. It's one thing to be swift voted by the Republicans. They don't like it when they see a Democrat doing it to another Democrat.

INSKEEP: In just a couple of seconds, could this hurt the Democratic Party in the long run?

LIASSON: Well, Hillary Clinton continues to say they were all going to be unified in the fall. Of course, what she's saying is once she gets the nomination, she expects Barack Obama will be out there campaigning for her. Democrats are nervous about this. They see that this strategy, tactics could backfire, cause a rift in the party. But more importantly, if Senator Clinton is the nominee, it could remind voters of all the things they didn't like about both Senator Clinton and her husband...

INSKEEP: Thanks very much.

LIASSON: ...and this will be used against them by the Republicans.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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