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Obama campaign refutes Bill Clinton over 'patriotism'
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15:27, March 24, 2008

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· U.S. Presidential Election 2008
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The Democratic presidential race has run into a new controversy over remarks by former President Bill Clinton which an adviser to Barack Obama's campaign says unfairly question the Illinois senator's patriotism.

But Hillary Clinton's campaign said it was a "deliberately pathetic misreading of what the president said."

Retired General Merrill "Tony" McPeak, a co-chair of Obama's campaign, said on Saturday he was astonished and disappointed by recent comments the former president made while speculating about a general election between Obama's Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Republican John McCain.

Standing next to Obama on stage at a campaign rally in southern Oregon, the retired Air Force chief of staff repeated Bill Clinton's comments aloud to a silent audience.

The former president told a group of veterans on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina: "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

McPeak then said to his Oregon audience: "As one who for 37 years proudly wore the uniform of our country, I'm saddened to see a president employ these tactics. He of all people should know better because he was the target of exactly the same kind of tactics."

That apparently was a reference to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, when he was accused of dodging the Vietnam War draft.

Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign, said on Saturday that McPeak's comments were a "deliberately pathetic misreading of what the president said." Wolfson said the remarks had nothing to do with Obama and were merely meant to underscore the need to keep the presidential race focused on issues.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Obama were commenting on the latest controversy.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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