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Clinton vs. Obama

The Washington Post's Balz and Kornblut write about yesterday's escalation by both camps and note: "The tussle could be a turning point in the Democratic race, which has seen little direct engagement between the top two candidates until now, and highlights how the competition between them has been framed: Clinton's experience vs. Obama's freshness. For Obama, it also marked a plunge into charge-countercharge politics after a promise to run 'a different kind of campaign.'"

A couple of fallout questions: Will Obama pay a price with supporters (especially independents) for practicing politics as usual, and will Clinton see her unfavorables go up among Democrats for hitting the popular guy?

The Politico's Smith says, "At the core of the exchange, each campaign saw an opportunity. Clinton saw a chance to feed doubts about her main challenger's readiness to stand on the world stage. Obama, after a moment of doubt, took the offensive to paint himself as the true apostle of the kind of dramatic change that Americans – and particularly Democrats – say they want."

The New York Times' lead: "Senator Barack Obama continued to press his case against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday, calling her 'Bush-Cheney lite,' which prompted her to fire back — on camera — that the escalating dispute with Mr. Obama was 'getting kind of silly.'"

The Washington Times' headline: "Obama likens Hillary to Bush."

The New York Daily News says Obama and Clinton "ripped each other as the bigger foreign policy dunce," noting there are reasons for both sides to engage -- with "Clinton needing to shake an unexpectedly strong threat from Obama and Obama needing to show he can take a punch -- and hit back."

As we asked yesterday, is Mitt Romney doing Clinton any favors by siding with her on this question of when do meet with certain world dictators/rogues?  Romney compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain yesterday.

And Dodd's campaign released a statement from the candidate saying that neither Clinton nor Obama is right. "Diplomacy is essential both to repair our nation's fractured world relationships and move forward with a more global perspective to our foreign policy. However, there are some leaders -- like Iran's Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust ever took place -- which cannot and should not be diplomatically rewarded with visits from the American president," Dodd said. "Unfortunately, this false debate, which has now lingered for days, has become just another personal argument among politicians and that's lamentable given the stakes in this election.