From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Mark Murray
LAS VEGAS, NV -- At an economic roundtable here Friday, Hillary Clinton criticized the economic stimulus plan President Bush announced this morning and slammed Barack Obama, saying she disagrees with his statement that Republicans have had the best ideas over the last 10 to 15 years.
"My leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last 10 to 15 years. That's not the way I remember the last 10 to 15 years. I don't think it's a better idea to privatize Social Security. I don't think it's a better idea to try to eliminate the minimum wage. I don't think it's a better idea to undercut health benefits and to give drug companies the right to make billions of dollars by providing prescription drugs to Medicare recipients. I don't think it's a better idea to shut down the government, to drive us into debt. I think we know what needs to be done in America and I think we're ready to do it. I'm ready to lead on day one," she said.
Clinton was referring to comments that Barack Obama made earlier in the week to a Reno newspaper, when he said that both JFK and Ronald Reagan were change agents: "I think [John] Kennedy, twenty years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times. I think we're in one of those times right now. Where people feel like things as they are going aren't working. We're bogged down in the same arguments that we've been having, and they're not useful. And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the Presidential candidates and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton gave this response, "It's hard to take Hillary Clinton's latest attack seriously when she's the one who supported George Bush's war in Iraq, the most damaging Republican idea of our generation. While others were triangulating and poll-testing their positions, Senator Obama has been fighting for progressive ideals for over two decades."
To pounce on Obama's comments, the Clinton team held a conference call with Rep. Barney Frank and other Clinton supporters blasting Obama for praising Reagan -- whom they blame for cutting govt programs for the poor. Yesterday, Edwards "strongly disagreed" with using Obama as an example of change. "When you think about what Ronald Reagan did to the American people. to the middle class, to the working people, he created a tax structure that favored the very wealthiest Americans and caused th middle class and working peop;le to struggle every single day.