Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

With Independence Hall as a backdrop, Obama pulls huge crowd in Philadelphia.

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BY LYNN SWEET AND ABDON PALLASCH Staff Reporters

PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama wrestled Friday over who was tougher, with Clinton mocking Obama after he earlier complained about his treatment at Wednesday's Democratic debate. Obama ended Friday with a massive rally near Independence Hall.

(this story appeared Saturday in the print version of the Sun-Times.)

Clinton brought up the debate at the start of a packed rally at Radnor High School in a posh suburb and alluded to Obama's gripes.

Borrowing President Harry Truman's famous quip, Clinton said, "I'm with Harry Truman on this. 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.' And, just speaking for myself, I'm very comfortable in the kitchen. So as the heat goes up, that's OK with me because we've got a lot of tough problems."

With Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary looming, Obama and Clinton stumped in the Keystone State, with Clinton then heading to North Carolina (voting May 6) for a forum with poet Maya Angelou.

Obama topped off Friday with an outdoor rally in the park adjacent to Independence Hall, drawing about 35,000 people. The Associated Press said it was the largest crowd of his campaign, even larger than the 30,000 people who came to see him and Oprah Winfrey in December in Columbia, S.C.

Friday's rally was in the park adjacent to Independence Hall. Obama alluded to the location in his speech.

"In four days, you get the chance to help bring about the change that we need right now, Philadelphia. Here in the city and the state that gave birth to our democracy, we can declare our independence from the politics that has shut us out and let us down, and told us to settle," he said.

After Clinton started on Obama over who can take the heat, the Obama rapid-response team jumped all over it. Obama spokesman Bill Burton shot out e-mails with a reminder that it was Clinton a while back who was grumbling about getting the first question at debates and harder ones at that.

"Considering the fact that Sen. Clinton sat on stage at the last debate and complained to all of America that she always gets the first question, her blatant hypocrisy here is stunning," Burton said.

Though Obama had complained Thursday about his treatment at the debates, he kept his criticism focused Friday on presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

"John McCain yesterday said that during George W. Bush's tenure, the economy actually made great progress -- that's his quote," Obama said to his laughing fans in Williamsport, Pa. "Keep in mind, this is a guy that calls me 'out of touch.' This is the first time since World War II that average family incomes went down during an economic expansion."

Clinton picked up the backing of three superdelegates Friday. Obama also was endorsed by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former Senators Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren of Oklahoma -- they're not superdelegates, but their support could influence remaining uncommitted superdelegates to go for him.

3 Comments

It is so simple! Obama must quickly return fire to both clinton an Mccain! If he does not, he will be swift boated like kerry! while a lot of people say he's complaining-----they must look at the facts! the facts is this! He's out financed Clinton! So who is the better at finding the cash to turn American down and Help future generations? Who here has the money to have their wages garnished and pay penality's when Mrs. Clinton puts her health care program into place? Any one with half a sense knows that if a media does a smear debate, that both have a right to complain! So , I'd say both clinton and obama had a reason to complain what abc did! It took abc 45 min to ask a ligitament question on issue's the american people wanted to hear! Now the night might have favored Clinton, but a lot of people thought Clinton already knew the ans. comeing and that it was a hatchet job! I thought it made both partys look bad, and felt sorry for both of them after the debate! this is a debate that will be talked about for years, and maybe change the media in thier Bias reporting from here on it! We can hope any how for change in the media! But both candidates have a right to protect themselfs from being swift boated! nomatter who that candidate is! So both can say what they want to protect themselfs and thats the end of this story.

It is so simple! Obama must quickly return fire to both clinton an Mccain! If he does not, he will be swift boated like kerry! while a lot of people say he's complaining-----they must look at the facts! the facts is this! He's out financed Clinton! So who is the better at finding the cash to turn American down and Help future generations? Who here has the money to have their wages garnished and pay penality's when Mrs. Clinton puts her health care program into place? Any one with half a sense knows that if a media does a smear debate, that both have a right to complain! So , I'd say both clinton and obama had a reason to complain what abc did! It took abc 45 min to ask a ligitament question on issue's the american people wanted to hear! Now the night might have favored Clinton, but a lot of people thought Clinton already knew the ans. comeing and that it was a hatchet job! I thought it made both partys look bad, and felt sorry for both of them after the debate! this is a debate that will be talked about for years, and maybe change the media in thier Bias reporting from here on it! We can hope any how for change in the media! But both candidates have a right to protect themselfs from being swift boated! nomatter who that candidate is! So both can say what they want to protect themselfs and thats the end of this story.

After 20 debates, numerous ads, and the longest campaign ever, the public still didn't know the issues and what Obama's and Hillary's positions were???? Give me a break!

There was nothing else to debate .... it's been repeated a hundred times and both have flipped a hundred times. All that was left were questions about the "good judgment" Obama supposedly claims he has and his questionable friends. He failed miserably when answering!

ABC finally had the guts to ask these questions and now they're being demonized for doing their job. I guess they didn't stick to the script.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 19, 2008 10:18 AM.

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