Clinton/Obama drama in Nevada, Iowa

AFSCME hosted a forum this afternoon in the state of Nevada and today’s war-of-words between the Clinton and Obama campaigns was front and center.  Each candidate got to make a brief opening statement, then they sat down at a small table on stage where George Stephanopoulos of ABC News was already seated. 

"Your campaign has gotten in a kind of press-release skuffle today with the Obama campaign," Stephanopoulos asked New York Senator Hillary Clinton.  "…Do you personally believe that Senator Obama should denounce David Geffen’s remarks and more generally do you think that candidates, all the candidates, should be held accountable for the statements of their supporters and donors?"

"I want to run a very positive campaign and I sure don’t want Democrats or the supporters of Democrats to be engaging in the politics of personal destruction," Clinton replied.  "I think we should stay focused on what we’re going to do for American and you know I believe that Bill Clinton was a good president and I’m very proud of his record of two terms." (The crowd applauded and cheered.)

Stephanopoulos asked, over the still cheering crowd:  "Should he denounce them?  Should Senator Obama denounce?"

Clinton interrupted.  "Well, I’m going to leave that up to the other campaign.  I’m glad to be here in Carson City.  I’m excited to be part of this wonderful forum and to have a chance, with the other candidates that came, to talk to the people here about what we want to do and to try to earn your support."

That was, of course, a dig at Obama for skipping the AFSCME event in Nevada to campaign in Iowa.  Obama’s due here (in Iowa) in a few moments.

Clinton, by the way, caused a bit of confusion when she walked right off stage and didn’t give her closing statement at the AFSCME forum.  Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was next in the rotation, and there was a pause as no one was on stage for a  l o n g  moment.

Vilsack then walked out and said:  "I was just saying hello to Senator Clinton.  That was the polite thing to do.  More about Vilsack in a separate post.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.