WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Hillary Clinton pointedly criticized rival Barack Obama at a crucial New Hampshire debate Saturday night, seeking to paint him as a flip-flopper on key issues.
No longer the party's clear frontrunner after her third-place showing in Iowa, Clinton went after the Illinois Democrat at the top of the debate for what she said was shifted stances on the Patriot Act and funding the Iraq war.
"Well, you've changed positions within three years on, you know, a range of issues that you put forth when you ran for the Senate, and now you have changed," Clinton said. "You said you would vote against the Patriot Act. You came to the Senate; you voted for it. You said that you would vote against funding for the Iraq war. You came to the Senate, and you voted for $300 billion of it."
"So I just think it's fair for people to understand that many of the charges that have been leveled, not just at me, but also at Sen. Edwards, are not totally, you know, unrelated to the very record you have," she added.
Obama immediately took issue with Clinton's characterization, and hit back saying, "I think the people of America are looking for are folks who are going to be straight about the issues and are going to be interested in solving problems and bringing people together."
The crucial debate came the same day a CNN/WMUR poll out of the Granite State showed the two candidates locked in a dead-heat, each drawing 33 percent of support among likely Democratic voters in the state.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney