CINCINNATI Accusing the Obama campaign of using tactics "that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., angrily denounced Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on Saturday for sending fliers to Ohio voters that she said falsely characterized her position on trade agreements.
"Shame on you, Barack Obama," Clinton said at a news conference after a morning rally, holding the fliers and shaking them in the air as she spoke. "It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That's what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign."
The fliers were handed to Clinton by a woman who attended the rally and then approached her on the rope line after her speech.
It was not the first time the Clinton campaign had seen the flier, which cites an article from Newsday that says Clinton believed that the North American Free Trade Agreement was a "boon" to the economy. Clinton said the newspaper has since corrected the article. (Editors from Newsday responded on its Web site last week, stopping short of a correction but saying that "Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading.")
"Time and time again, you hear one thing in speeches and then you see a campaign that has the worst kind of tactics, reminiscent of the same sort of Republican attacks on Democrats," Clinton said.
Obama, during a news conference on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, waved off Clinton's attack as campaign performance art.
"I'm puzzled by her change in tone," said Obama, who added that her anger seemed "tactical."
An Obama spokesman, Bill Burton said in an e-mail message, "Everything in those mailers is completely accurate."
Trade is a particularly sensitive issue in Ohio, which holds its primary on March 4. Many people there believe that trade agreements like NAFTA have cost the state thousands of jobs.
Former President Bill Clinton was a vigorous supporter of NAFTA. He lobbied Congress to pass legislation authorizing the agreement and signed it into law despite objections from fellow Democrats, who believed that it would cost the country jobs.
Hillary Clinton strenuously distanced herself from that on Saturday. She said "the agreement was negotiated" during the administration of her husband's predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, and "passed in the Clinton administration."