From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones, NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
DALLAS, Texas -- Clinton continued the same lines of attack she's been using since yesterday, hitting Obama on national security issues. She had a sharper-sounding line as she sought to define the premise of her opponent's candidacy. She gave two reasons she says he uses to show he's qualified to be president.
"My opponent, he basically says there are two reasons why he is qualified to be commander in chief," Clinton told a crowd ousesf about 2,500 to 3,000, which appeared to be the largest gathered since the 12,000-person rally in El Paso the night of the Chesapeake Primaries. "He gave a speech against the Iraq war in 2002, and I give him credit for that. He gave a speech at an anti-war rally. Well, then within two years he had decided that maybe he wasn't sure which way he would have actually voted if he had been a senator and that maybe George Bush wasn't doing such a bad job in Iraq after all.
"And then he often cites on his resume the fact that he is the chairman of the subcommittee on European Affairs, which has jurisdiction over NATO, which as you know is our ally in Afghanistan. But he didn't tell you until the debate the other night that he never even held a single substantive hearing to figure out what he could do better."
While the 2002 speech certainly has been a centerpiece of Obama's campaign as part of an argument on "judgment," Obama never said George Bush "wasn't doing such a bad job in Iraq." He also doesn't tout his chairmanship on the European Affairs subcommittee. He does say, though that he is a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In addition, at the debate, Clinton brought up the chairmanship -- not Obama -- and used it to deliver an effective line against him. Obama did attempt to justify his lack of holding hearings after Clinton pointed it out, however, saying that he had only been given the chairmanship 13-months ago -- when he started running for president.