(CNN) – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama haven’t crossed paths yet during their weekend barnstorming across Pennsylvania. But they’ve been constant campaign trail companions, as each invokes the other at virtually every whistle-stop during the final blitz before Tuesday’s primary vote.
Clinton has attacked Obama for his recent comments about some small town Americans, his heath care plan, and his relative Washington inexperience – which she argues makes him unprepared to lead the country in a crisis.
Obama has taken aim at Clinton over her acceptance of money from political action committees, her health care plan, and her Washington experience – which he argues makes her unprepared to bring real change to the city.
But the most-often repeated charge, the one that makes an appearance at virtually every stop, is: negative campaigning.
"I just heard that my opponent has put out an ad attacking my health care plan, which is kind of curious because my plan covers everybody, and his leaves out 15 million people, just leaves them out in the cold,” said Clinton at a campaign rally in York Saturday. “Instead of attacking the problem he chooses to attack my solution.”
For his part, Obama accused Clinton of looking to create “fake controversy” around him in the race’s final days.
“In the last few months, she’s launched what her campaign calls a ‘kitchen sink’ strategy of negative attacks, which she defends by telling us that this is what the Republicans would do. She says that’s how the game is played,” he told a Philadelphia crowd.
In Paoli, Pennsylvania, he accused her of “slash and burn politics.”
The New York senator, he said at an appearance in Wynnewood, was “throwing everything at me and seeing if something sticks,” which he called a GOP tactic.
In response, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer e-mailed reporters a link to a quiz on the campaign’s Web site that asked them to decide who had made a given quote attacking Clinton: a member of Obama’s campaign, or a Republican.
The charges and countercharges aren’t limited to the candidates’ stump speeches. Over the past three days, both have launched negative robo-calls, tough mailers, and matching attack ads on special interest influence over their opponent. And on dueling conference calls, surrogates have used some of the race’s harshest language to date.
On an Obama conference call with reporters Saturday, Gen. Walter Stewart said Clinton’s misstatements about her trip to Bosnia as First Lady mean she “lacks the moral authority” to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
At a campaign event at Pennsylvania’s California University shortly after the call, Clinton said that the Illinois senator “always says in his speeches that he is running a positive campaign – but then his campaign does the opposite.”
Later, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson sent reporters a memo charging that Obama had “has flooded airwaves, radio, phone lines and mailboxes with negative and false attacks against Hillary” in the previous 48 hours, calling Stewart’s remarks “the most outrageous attack of the campaign.”
The tough words underlie the high stakes, and the closeness of the race. After leading by 20 points just a few weeks ago, Clinton’s lead has shrunk to the single digits in the most recent CNN Pennsylvania Poll of Polls, an average of recent campaign surveys. Clinton, who has some roots in the state’s northeast corner, has a strong base in the state: solid support from working-class white voters, Catholics and seniors, in a state where all three are powerful and potentially decisive voting blocs.
But a record level of new voters and party-switchers in Pennsylvania – the most in any primary contest, and second in number only to the 2004 general election – have propelled Obama into contention here. On Friday, he drew an estimated 35,000 – the largest crowd of his campaign - at an outdoor rally in Philadelphia.
The risk for both is that supporters may be turned off by the race’s negative tone – a danger both recognize.
"You’ve been watching this campaign for a couple weeks, at least here in Pennsylvania, and let’s face it, it’s not pretty," Obama acknowledged Saturday in Paoli. "But the issue is not whether people are saying nasty things. The problem is that it’s a distraction from solving the problems that have to be solved."
Hillary thinks that the entire country is comprised of idiots. Everyone can see through her empty lies. She is bad for New York and bad for the USA.
I told you that the Clinton's are self-serving and talks on both sides of their mouths. They believe that the presidency is their entitlement. The 2008 presidential process has shown how developing (third-world) a nation that we have become.
Who else for the presidency? Chelsea Clinton? I don’t think so! The buck stops here.
Please PA voters, we have had enough Clintons and Bushes in the White House. Isn't 20 years enough? We are taking care of that in NC.
no to obama!!no to MCcain go hillary!!!! sure better than obama or MCcain or BUSH
Hillary's still running? When is she going to realize that she has no chance of winning the race??
Levi....don't you watch The Colbert report? Manufactured Political Distractions are officially "ON NOTICE"!!!
Sens. Clinton and Obama are doing none!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
she lies so much her supporters believe averthing she say
Obama is the one who is dishonest.
hey levi,, what the Pope should really do is perform an exorcism on hillary clinton, whenever she appears on my tv i hold up my cross hoping she'll just go away!!!!!!!!
Here's a thought, gentlemen. How about you all agree to moderate yourselves instead of screaming at your opponent for doing the same thing as you?
Yes, I know it'll never happen. But the people would love it if it did. Maybe then we could talk about some real issues.
Why is the media creating the false impression that people care about flag pins and "Bittergate" like non issues more than the real issues?
It is obvious that Obama is not new and different from other politicians.
People are simply manipulated.
I give you an excellent example;
So called "NEW & IMPROVED" merchandise in the supermarket really new and improved???????
There has been and still is only one candidate to lead this country and that's Hillary!
Go Champ, you'll do this!
obama forever. New era, new politics!!!
Watch what mud Hillary slings tomorrow. Or Tuesday she is always slinging BS on vote day or before. Mark my words. She will come up with a wopper. It is her true color dirt.
It's time for Hillary to be left "out in the cold".
Hillary's health care solution IS THE PROBLEM. It's called MANDATED which means you or I have no say in what we get or how much comes out of our checks.
Oh and Hillary hasn't been negative???? What about the debate??? Didn't see Obama attacking her. At least he was not giving in to the Republicans and Fox News like Hillary is
'Your post was absolutely stupid! The divisions between 'us' (race) has been around for over a hundred years. Sign up for night school.
please give specifics of the add. you misspoke again !!?? You lost 2008 and 2012 too !! Bye Bye !!
PA for Hillary!!
Apologies, spelling: Leiberman; and his democratic influences might create bias and allow party sponsored prevarications.
Hillary is like a bully. She can dish it out but cannot take it.
Too bad comments were closed for the Pittsburgh Tribune endorsement of Hillary. Given the track record of this paper, I cannot help but wonder whether this endorsement is part of Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos.
Be careful Pittsburgh voters!