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Clinton, Obama complement one another in debate
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16:18, February 01, 2008

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· U.S. Presidential Election 2008
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In their last debate before "Super Tuesday," Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent 90 minutes Thursday evening in Hollywood's Kodak Theater, complementing one another and pledging to present a united Democratic Party in the November presidential election.

Obama began the evening saying that he and Clinton were friends "before we started this campaign. I will be friends with Hillary Clinton after this campaign is over."

"I don't think the choice is between black and white or it's about gender or religion. I don't think it's about young or old. I think what is at stake right now is whether we are looking backward or we are looking forward," said the Illinois Senator.

In her opening comments, former first lady Clinton said she was confident the next president was sitting on the Kodak Theater stage.

The Democratic field was reduced to only two candidates Wednesday when former North Carolina Senator John Edwards withdrew after failing to win any of the primary contests held to date.

Edwards' withdrawal left a historic juncture for the 2008 U.S. presidential election: the Democratic nominee is all but certain to be either a woman or an African American.

The two remaining Democratic candidates also discussed their differences over the Iraq war during the debate before a celebrity-studded audience in the Kodak Theater.

Clinton said she would begin to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days of taking office and estimated it could take a year for a complete withdrawal.

She also said that the Iraqi government would have to take on more responsibility.

Obama said, "It is important for us to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in."

"I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place," said Obama.

The debate between the two Democratic candidates was historic and surprisingly civil, allowing them to air their differences on major issues and being a stark contrast to the Republican debate Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, political observers said.

John McCain, the Republican front-runner, and his rivals accused each other and clashed sharply on various issues ranging from efforts to bolster the sagging U.S. economy to ways to tackle illegal immigration.

It is expected that presidential nominees of both the Democratic and Republican Party would be virtually decided Tuesday, when 22 states including California, New York and Illinois hold primaries and caucuses in the biggest on-day round of presidential primary voting in the U.S. history.

Source: Xinhua

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