Obama, Clinton Trade Jabs Long-Distance
Obama calls Clinton gas-tax proposal "gimmick"; Clinton calls it needed relief
With Indiana's presidential primary now less than a week away, Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are trading jabs across the state.
Obama and his wife Michelle arrived in Indianapolis Wednesday to kick off four days of campaigning in the state with a mini-town meeting in a Garfield Park picnic shelter for invited guests. Obama fired back at Clinton for ads charging his opposition to a gas tax suspension indicate he "doesn't get it."
"Maybe it polls well," Obama says of the proposal, but says it would save the average family 28 dollars. Obama says a better way to provide working families relief would be a thousand-dollar income tax credit, for families making less than 75-thousand a year.
The Illinois senator notes it's not just gas prices, but grocery prices that are going up. He says an income tax credit would be broader-based than what he dismisses as a "gimmick."
Hours later, Clinton responded at a rally in Lafayette, citing an American Trucking Association estimate that truckers would save $2 billion if the gas tax were suspended for the summer. She says that savings would lower grocery costs.
Clinton renewed efforts to call Obama's experience into question, asking her audience if they wanted a president who's good at "giving speeches" or "solving problems."
The New York senator linked her call for universal health coverage to scientific advances at Purdue and elsewhere, saying research on the human genome means science will soon be able to identify genetic markers for cancer and other diseases. She warns unless everyone is covered, people with those markers will become uninsurable.
"Genetics is the original preexisting condition," Clinton said.
Obama sought to further distance himself from Jeremiah Wright, the now-retired pastor of Obama's Chicago church who this week reaffirmed controversial statements equating the U.S. with al-Qaeda and suggesting AIDS was a government plot.
Obama again denounced Wright's comments, while musing why a presidential candidate should be expected to "vet" everyone in his life.
Obama also spoke at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, while Clinton held a rally in Kokomo. On Thursday, Clinton travels to Jeffersonville and Terre Haute. Obama will be campaigning in Indiana but has not publicly released his schedule.