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Clinton vs. Obama

The Clinton-Obama spat continued over the weekend, NBC's Andrew Merten reports… On Saturday, while campaigning in Des Moines, Obama said: "It's time to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney diplomatic strategy that has isolated America from our allies and reduced our moral standing in the international community.  We need a president who'll have the strength and courage to go toe-to-toe with the leaders of rogue nations because that's what it takes to protect our security."

Then former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who has endorsed Clinton after ending his own presidential bid, quickly fired back.  In a conference call with reporters, he challenged Obama to clarify his position, saying, "It appears that the day before the Charleston debate, Senator Obama is reported [per the Miami Herald] to have suggested that he would be glad to meet with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, but only with certain preconditions being met, which is precisely what Senator Clinton said." Vilsack continued: "We just would simply like the good senator to clarify his position. Which is it?  Preconditions or not?" 

The Obama campaign then issued this statement: "The politics of hope requires us to shake up the establishment status quo that has to change.  Obama has been crystal clear in saying that he be the most aggressive in fundamentally changing our nation's foreign policy.  This is a substantive debate during which she called Obama irresponsible and naive.  Obama has been entirely consistent -- he never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee and he said he wouldn't let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool.  What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them."

While we wonder if there's anything left to say about last week's clash, the one thing we've learned is that Obama seems to have acquired a new confidence. Here he is in Iowa on Saturday: "I was called irresponsible and naive because I believe that there is nobody we can't talk to," said Obama, drawing loud cheers. "We've got nothing to fear as long as know who we are and what we stand for and our values."

The Des Moines Register's Yepsen declares Edwards the winner of the Clinton-Obama dispute.