LAS VEGAS, NV.—Barack Obama is taking flak on Friday from rivals Hillary Clinton and to a lesser degree John Edwards for invoking the name of Ronald Reagan during a session with the Reno Gazette-Journal editorial board.
“I think Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10 to 15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom,’’ Obama told the paper.
As the Clinton camp started throwing stones at Obama for suggesting that the Republican party was “the party of ideas,” the Obama team pushed back, in another day of back to back conference calls from the campaigns as they deal with a string of tit-for-tats.
An early Obama supporter, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fl.) said in a conference call that Obama will enlarge the Democratic tent, just as Reagan did for his party.
“We need to increase the size of the tent of the Democratic party,” Wexler said. “…Much of what Reagan did Obama disagrees (with).
“What Ronald Reagan did do and we still talk about is create Reagan Democrats and what Sen. Obama is creating are Obama Republicans and Obama independents and the criticism that is offered by the Clinton camp is both short sighted and is foolish. Of course we Democrats want a nominee that can attract the greatest group of people to the Democratic party.”
Wexler added, the Clinton criticism “undermines, I believe, any type of unity that we as Democrats could create as they continue this kind of criticism.”