From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina reporters got a taste of conference call campaigning this afternoon, with Team Obama getting Carolina backer Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-1) on the horn to slam Hillary Clinton over her reported exaggerations of the perils of a trip to Bosnia in 1996. Butterfield, the only member of North Carolina's Democratic congressional delegation to have endorsed a candidate, said he is "appalled" on behalf of his constituents over the claim. Calling the misstatement "a strike against" the New York senator, he added that she owes the citizens of his state -- and America -- an apology for it.
Butterfield also expressed doubt that Clinton's tenure as First Lady has uniquely readied her for a position at the helm of America's foreign policy. "And now that she has missrepresented and exaggerated her trip to Bosnia," he argued, "[that] really leads me to the conclusion that she not only lacks the qualifications but that she doesn't see the importance of being accurate in making statements regarding her qualifications."
The call assures that Clinton's "minor blip," as she has called the incident, will be on the news media's radar in the Tar Heel State. New polling shows Obama bouncing back from deflated numbers last week to regain a substantial lead after his recent visit to the state. (Note: this from a new PPP poll)
In a conference call to national reporters yesterday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson accused the Obama campaign of capitalizing on the Bosnia story "because they have nothing positive to say about their candidate."
To hear Butterfield's baritone tell it, the key sticking point is trustworthiness. "That's not what we look for in elected officials in North Carolina," said the two-term Democratic congressman of Clinton's "sniper fire" embellishments. "I dare say that's not what we look for anywhere in America."