WASHINGTON (CNN) - Laughter. That's what you get when you ask Robert Gibbs, Sen. Barack Obama's communications director, if the press has given the Illinois senator a pass on vetting his record: "Hah! No I don't think so! I'd be glad to share the clips! I don't think anybody's given anybody a pass in this."
He added, "I think it’s a little sad where we’ve reached the point in the campaign where one side feels that desperate negative attacks is the only solution."
Gibbs was not responding to Bill Clinton's Tuesday comments, which made the claim, in particular: he was asked Monday about the last-minute flurry of attacks from Hillary Clinton's campaign on Obama’s record - what her aides have referred to as "inconsistencies."
The eleventh-hour effort began Saturday night with Sen. Clinton's comments during the WMUR/ABC News debate, when she claimed the Illinois senator said one thing then did another on Iraq war funding, the Patriot Act, the energy bill and his positions on mandatory minimum sentencing and universal health care.
Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod told CNN Sen. Clinton was distorting Obama’s record, quoting another New York senator: “As Senator Moynihan said, 'You’re entitled to your own opinions but you’re not entitled to your own facts.'” He made an apparent dig at Sen. Clinton’s record on the war: “I’m not the strategist for the other side, but the whole flip-flop discussion, I wouldn’t want to go down that road.”
But Sen. Clinton’s strategist Mark Penn insists the campaign is engaging in “a serious debate about talk versus action... a reality check to what’s happened so far." He called on the media to “do with others what they have done so effectively with Sen. Clinton, which is to look at her record. That record is not only an open book it’s the subject of sixty books. And I think as the stage narrows to a smaller group of candidates it’s important that everyone be vetted, everyone be tested.”
He added, “It’s a long campaign. It’s been a long campaign and I think we’ve got a long way to go in this campaign.”
Related video: Watch Clinton on Obama 'fair tale'
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–CNN's Jessica Yellin