WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battled for voters Sunday in a central Ohio suburb with a long history of civic activism, each attempting to strike a resonating message before critical balloting in the next stage of a prolonged Democratic presidential contest.
Clinton traveled to Westerville to intensify efforts to portray the Illinois Democrat as a candidate of flowing rhetoric with few accomplishments. Obama replied that the New York Democrat’s attempts to depict herself as a foreign policy expert were overblown.
Clinton’s campaign had initially viewed Ohio and Texas as must wins on Tuesday following 11 straight victories by Obama. Her advisers have since indicated that she may continue if she splits those two states, although it is likely she would face increased pressure to drop out.
Polls show her lead narrowing in Ohio, and the two are neck-and-neck in Texas.
Speaking at the decades-old Westerville North High School, Clinton took a dig at Obama by saying she has been “very specific” in speaking to audiences in the states that will vote Tuesday, which include Vermont and Rhode Island.
“I’ve given a lot of speeches in my life – probably hundreds of thousands,” she said. “You know, sometimes I finish a speech and people will come up to me and say, ‘That was so inspiring, so wonderful and making people feel so good.’ I said, ‘That’s great. But that’s just words.’ Our job is to make a difference.”
Clinton said she wanted voters to hold her accountable for her promises.
During his Westerville appearance in a town-hall style discussion at Central High School, Obama said the media “has sort of bought into” Clinton’s arguments that he is more style than substance because they “want to keep the contest interesting.”
Still, the Illinois senator took aim at Clinton’s contention that she is more experienced on issues of foreign affairs and national security.
“She has, supposedly, all this vast foreign policy experience,” he said. “I have to say, when it came to making the most important foreign policy decision of our generation – the decision to invade Iraq – Sen. Clinton got it wrong.”