Clinton ridiculed Democratic rival Barack Obama on Tuesday
for his contention that living abroad as a child helped give
him a better understanding of the foreign policy
challenges facing the United States.
have to judge if living in a foreign country at the age of
10 prepares one to face the big, complex international
challenges the next president will face,'' Clinton
said. ''I think we need a president with more
experience than that, someone the rest of the world knows,
looks up, to and has confidence in.''
''I was wondering which world leader told her that we
needed to invade Iraq.''
conclusion: ''This campaign is getting kind of heated now.
It's getting a little more exciting and intense.''
A day earlier,
touting his foreign policy credentials, Obama had said his
life experience gave him a better feel for international
issues than most candidates gain from official trips
to other nations.
He noted his
father was from Kenya and that he himself spent part of his
childhood in Indonesia. ''Probably the strongest experience
I have in foreign relations is the fact I spent four
years overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia,''
he said Monday.
Clinton has been
slapping harder at Obama on the issue of experience --
on Monday she said the nation's economy ''can't afford
on-the-job training'' for the next president -- as
surveys show them in a tight race with former North
Carolina senator John Edwards for January's leadoff
caucuses in Iowa.
Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Obama
with 30% support among likely Democratic caucusgoers,
Clinton with 26% and Edwards with 22%. About half the
Clinton supporters who were surveyed said they had
never attended a caucus, compared with 43% of Obama
supporters -- a finding that could be significant because
voters considered the most reliable caucus
participants are those who have caucused before.
After learning of
her comments Tuesday, Obama responded during a town
hall-style meeting in a gym in Conway, N.H.
that one of the reasons that I got it right when it came to
Iraq was because I lived overseas when I was a child,'' he
said. ''It gives me some judgment and perspective
around what other people think about America and how
they might react or respond when we make some of the
decisions that we do.''
''Of course, both
the Republicans, in their talking points, as well as
Senator Clinton said, 'Well, I don't think that what Senator
Obama did when he was 10 years old is relevant to our
national security.' I didn't say that.''
Clinton made her
remarks to a crowd in Iowa Tuesday -- but from a state
away. She had been scheduled to open the second day of a
campaign trip through Iowa with a town hall meeting in
Shenandoah, but aides said her plane was unable to
land because of fog, disappointing more than 400
people gathered to hear her speech. She addressed them by
speaker phone -- from Omaha.
She sought to
compare her experience -- a two-term New York senator after
eight years as first lady -- with that of Obama, a
first-term senator from Illinois.
''I offer the
experience of being battle-tested in the political wars
here at home,'' said Clinton, arguing that her background
not only was superior as a potential president but
also made her the most electable Democrat.
''For 15 years
I've been the object of the Republican attack machine and
I'm still here,'' she said.
She said she
would be ready to address the problems facing the country on
her first day in the White House.
''We have so many
issues to deal with,'' she said. ''I've traveled the
world on behalf of our country. I've met with countless
world leaders and know many of them personally.''
Aides said she
made more than 70 overseas trips as first lady, was
actively involved in policy during her husband's tenure in
office, and has been closely involved in foreign
policy issues during her Senate tenure.
Obama's take on
that: ''A long resume does not guarantee good
At his final stop
of the day in Laconia, N.H., Obama said ''one of my
rivals'' -- he wouldn't say Clinton's name -- was ignoring
his personal interest in U.S. security.
''I accept the
challenge of any other candidate when it comes to being
concerned about safety. I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old
daughter in a major American city. Don't tell me I
don't care about keeping America safe,'' he said. ''We
will strike anybody who threatens American lives and
American interests. That's not the question. The question
is, What other kinds of power can we bring to make us
He did, however,
utter Clinton's name during a question-and-answer
session when talking about her failed effort to overhaul the
health care system in the 1990s, when she was first
lady. (Mike Glover, AP)