(CNN) - Hours after news reports surfaced that Barack Obama had criticized Bill Clinton for getting too heavily involved in this year’s presidential race, the former president accused the Illinois senator’s campaign of more dirty tricks in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.
The former president said Sunday that his wife Hillary Clinton had “won a victory in spite of a very well-organized, and I might say a very well-executed, strategy by the Obama campaign. Which included doing well in the north of Nevada, where his demographic of upscale voters lived, and by making an explicit effort to get Republicans to come and vote for him in the Democratic caucus” – a charge that was immediately denied by Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
The two campaigns started trading charges and counter-charges over the chaotic Saturday vote even before the polls closed, and have continued the back-and-forth ever since. On Monday, Obama told an ABC interviewer that he felt as though he were “running against both Clintons.”
Bill Clinton also seized on Obama’s recent comments that Ronald Reagan had had a major impact on America, telling the Buffalo, New York crowd Sunday night that the Illinois senator had “said President Reagan was the engine of innovation and did more, had a more lasting impact on America than I did. And then the next day he said, 'In the ‘90s, the good ideas came out from the Republicans. Which, it'll be costly maybe down the road for him because it's factually not accurate.”
Obama's comments last week did not compare the two presidencies. The senator said that Reagan had changed the “trajectory” of the country, and “put us on a fundamentally different path,” and that “it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.” But did not say whether he thougt those ideas had been positive ones.
He added that the Republican approach had “played itself out.”
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand