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Hillary’s salvo at Obama

Democrat Hillary Clinton attacks rival Barrack Obama for his statement that Republican John McCain would be better for the country than George W Bush.

world Updated: Apr 22, 2008 15:32 IST

With a day to go before a crucial US presidential vote, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sharpened their attacks, with Hillary pouncing on Obama for saying Republican John McCain would be better for the country than George W. Bush.

Obama told a rally in Reading, Pennsylvania McCain would be an improvement over Bush, a comment that seemed to undercut the message he often pushes that electing McCain would amount to giving the current Republican president a third term.

“You have a real choice in this election — you know, either Democrat would be better than John McCain, and all three of us would be better than George Bush,” Obama said.

Hillary, vying with Obama for the Democratic nomination and the right to run against presumptive Republican nominee McCain in the November election, criticised Obama’s comments.

“We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain,” she said at a rally in Johnstown.

The two candidates sparred ahead of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, which has become a major test in the race for the party's nomination.

Hillary, a New York senator who needs a win in the state to keep her presidential ambitions alive, leads in polls but Obama, an Illinois senator and the national front-runner, has cut into her one-time double-digit lead in recent weeks.

At a later event in Scranton, Obama appeared to backtrack on his suggestion that McCain would be better than Bush, once again reiterating his view that the Arizona senator was “running for George Bush’s third term”. “We can’t afford four more years of George Bush policies under the guise of John McCain,” Obama said.

He also said Hillary’s campaign tactics amounted to “game-playing” and said she would not represent enough of a change from the Bush administration. “Trying to score cheap political points may make good headlines and good television but it doesn’t make for good government,” Obama said.