From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- If anyone thought Obama needed a breather after last night's contentious and heated Democratic debate, the candidate's opening speech at Furman University in Greenville proved them wrong.
Obama went after Clinton on issue after issue from last night's debate, using the podium to give full grievance to his charges against her in a way that the time-limited format at the debate and Clinton's noisy interruptions did not permit.
"Of course, it's easy to propose plans and policies when you're on the campaign trail. You can make all sorts of promises and tell people what they want to hear when they want to hear it. But in this time of economic anxiety and uncertainty, what this country needs most is a President who says what he means and means what he says," Obama said before launching into an attack on Clinton's economic stimulus plan.
"When Senator Clinton first released her economic stimulus plan, she didn't think that workers or seniors needed immediate tax relief. She thought it could wait until things got worse. Five days later, the economy didn't really change, but the politics apparently did, because she changed her plan to look just like mine," Obama said while the audience roared with laugher.
He moved on to reprise his critique of Clinton's answer on the bankruptcy bill, which she had voted for in 2001. "Believe it or not, Senator Clinton said again last night that even though she voted for the bill, she was glad it didn't pass," Obama said, at which point he was interrupted by a man who loudly shouted "She did!"
"I know!" Obama yelled out before continuing, "I know you can get away with this in Washington, but most of us know that if you don't want to see a bill pass, there's a pretty easy option available -- you can vote against it."
On trade he also criticized her for saying one thing and taking another position when she decided to run for the presidency. "Because only in Washington could Senator Clinton say that NAFTA led to economic improvement up until she started running for President," he said. "Now she says we need a time-out on trade. No one knows when this time-out will end. Maybe after the election."
Hitting back at Clinton on lobbyists, Obama accused Clinton of "defending" them and saying that they represented the interests of "real Americans. "Well let me tell you," Obama said, "if you really believe that lobbyists represent real Americans, then you don't."
The rebuts served to underscore an argument Obama has been making about Clinton essentially since the beginning, that she doesn't have the judgment to make the right decisions the first time around and that she will say whatever it takes to win.
"We can't afford a President whose positions change with the politics of the moment, we need a President who knows that being ready on day one means getting it right from day one," Obama said.
He continued, "In my 25 years of public service, my positions haven't changed when the politics got hard, and neither will the policies I pursue as President."